London – British citizen Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to Britain and we encourage the authorities to lead with a policy of non-politicised counsel, not punishment.
Her case illustrates that the rule of law and due process are universal legal principles that cannot be compromised.
Initially the Met Police assured the three Bethnal Green girls who left, that they would not face prosecution upon return. Should Shamima be charged, a fair trial must determine, with clarity, the events leading up to her decision to leave to ISIS territory.
There can be no doubts about the brutality of ISIS and the horrors suffered by those who crossed their path. However if we are to retain our humanity every returnee must be afforded a fair hearing, so that we can begin the difficult steps needed to heal our communities.
Moazzam Begg, outreach director for CAGE, said:
“I was in Syria in 2012-13 investigating UK and US roles in the rendition programme with Syria. I met people who later joined ISIS and I tried to stop their abuses of prisoners. Isis went on to execute some of my friends. That is one reason I have opposed and deplored ISIS from the outset.”
“However, I was also imprisoned in Guantanamo with young teens who paid the terrible price of childish decisions. That is why I believe Shamima Begum must be properly assessed for security risks but ultimately returned to the UK and counselled in the right direction to learn and acknowledge just how much the organisation she joined deviated from the basic principles of Islam and brought misery to the world.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)