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British IS teen calls for 'mercy'

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

London, United Kingdom   /   Fri, February 22, 2019   /   09:29 am
British IS teen calls for 'mercy' In this file photo taken on February 22, 2015 Renu Begum, eldest sister of missing British girl Shamima Begum, holds a picture of her sister while being interviewed by the media in central London. A teenager who joined the Islamic State group in Syria but now wants to return to Britain gave birth on February 17, 2019, drawing fresh scrutiny as Europe struggles with Western jihadist supporters eager to return home. LAURA LEAN / POOL / AFP (AFP/Laura Lean)

A London teenager who joined the Islamic State group in Syria called on the British authorities on Thursday to reconsider their decision to revoke her citizenship, calling for "mercy".

"I would like them to re-evaluate my case with a bit more mercy in their heart," Shamima Begum told Sky News from a refugee camp in eastern Syria.

Begum was 15 when she ran away to join the jihadists with two school friends from Bethnal Green in east London in 2015.

Now a 19-year-old mother, she has become a refugee after the group's proto-state collapsed. 

Separated from her Dutch IS fighter husband, and after giving birth to a son in the camp last weekend, she now wants to come home.

Her family's lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, is looking at challenging Britain's decision to revoke her citizenship, which risks leaving Begum stateless.

The Guardian newspaper reported that he plans to travel to the camp to seek Begum's consent to bring her newborn son back to Britain while the case plays out.

"I would hope that I would be able to outline the options for her, explain things to her. We would want her agreement and consent of course," he said.

But Begum told Sky News she would not allow her son -- her third child, after the other two died in recent months while living under IS -- to leave Syria without her.

Asked if she can change or be rehabilitated, she replied: "I am willing to change."

Begum's family are from Bangladesh but the country said Wednesday she had no claim to citizenship there.