Lawyer Tasnime Akunjee admits that “there is always a possibility” that his client Shamima Begum is a terror threat, but maintains the jihadi bride should be allowed to return to the UK to contest the deprivation of her British citizenship.
The remarks were made on the second day of hearings in the UK’s Supreme Court on whether the 21-year-old Islamic State member can return.
When asked if the ISIS bride was still a threat, the Begum’s family lawyer told Good Morning Britain on Tuesday that “There is always a possibility [she is a threat].”
The Home Office cited an MI5 report on Monday, telling the Supreme Court that Begum poses “a real and current threat to national security” due to her long-term commitment to Islamic State and her “desensitisation to violence”.
Mr Akunjee then attempted to compare his client’s position to the brother of Salman Abedi, Hashem — who was an accomplice in the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack and was extradited to the UK to stand trial for crimes that had already been committed on British soil — as justification for inviting further terror risk into the country.
“If you compare her situation to the brother of the Ariana Grande concert bomber, Mr Abedi, the British government spent a lot of time and effort securing Mr Abedi in Libya and then extraditing him back to the UK where he faced trial for 22 counts of murder. He was subsequently found guilty, and will spend the next 55 years of his natural life in prison,” the lawyer said.
Jihadi Bride ‘Real and Current Threat to National Security’, Supreme Court Hears https://t.co/pPsiU8OAiT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 24, 2020
Ms Begum had some observations on the terror attack that targetted women and children, rationalising that she could see the “justification”, comparing it to women and children allegedly being killed in Syria by forces fighting the terror group.
Referencing the Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces’ offensive in an Islamic State stronghold of Baghuz, Begum had told the BBC in February 2019: “It’s one thing to kill a soldier, it’s fine, it’s self-defence. But to kill people like women and children just like the women and children in Baghuz who are being killed right now unjustly by the bombings — it’s a two-way thing really because women and children are being killed back in the Islamic State right now.
“It’s kind of retaliation. Their justification was that it was retaliation, so I thought, okay, that is a fair justification.”
Continuing to acknowledge that his client may pose a risk, Akunjee added: “The Court of Appeal has been quite clear that should she return to the UK, the Home Office would then impose added restrictions on her in order to mitigate any potential and possible threat that she may offer.”
British authorities are already struggling to monitor all the suspected extremists on their radar. After the Court of Appeal ruled in July that Begum may challenge her disenfranchisement in person, a Whitehall source speaking to The Telegraph warned that “any returning jihadi is a headache. Anybody who went out there to join Isil is problematic. We would have concerns about anybody who has been in her situation. Even if you didn’t think she was dangerous, you would have to switch resources to put her under surveillance.”
The UK’s Security Service, MI5, has under observation 43,000 suspected terrorists on British soil, 3,000 of those being under close watch.
Addressing the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Lord Pannick QC, acting on behalf of Begum, claimed that despite her membership of the murderous death cult Islamic State, it “cannot be assumed” she is a threat.
“It cannot be assumed — and indeed it will be an issue on any appeal — that because Ms Begum travelled to Syria and because there is evidence she aligned herself to Isil, it, therefore, follows that she constitutes a continuing threat or indeed what degree of threat she will pose on her return,” he told the five justices.
The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision in the New Year.
Supreme Court Hears Whether Teen Jihadi Bride Can Return to UK to Challenge Revoked Citizenship https://t.co/hjIbf5s0s6
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 23, 2020