UK

Shamima Begum: Teenager's mother asks for 'act of mercy'

Former ISIS wife Shamima Begum photographed in a Syrian refugee camp during an interview with BBC Middle East Correspondent Quentin Sommerville.
Image caption Ms Begum left Bethnal Green, east London, in 2015 to join the Islamic State group in Syria

The mother of Shamima Begum has urged the government to reconsider the decision to revoke her daughter's British citizenship.

A letter to the Home Office from the family's lawyer - written on behalf of Asma Begum - asked the Home Office to do so as "an act of mercy".

It said this was in light of the news the teenager's newborn son had died last week.

Ms Begum left London to join the Islamic State group when she was 15.

When she was found in a Syrian refugee camp last month, she gave an interview in which she said did not regret joining IS.

In the letter, the family's lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said "it is extremely unlikely that Shamima will be in a fit state to make any rational decisions".

'Immediate fears'

He said the family had not yet been in direct contact with the 19-year-old.

Asking for a reply within 24 hours, he continued: "You will appreciate there are immediate fears for Shamima's health and safety, and the matter is urgent."

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Media captionDiane Abbott questions Sajid Javid on Shamima Begum baby

Shortly after the birth of her son, Jarrah, Ms Begum told the BBC she wished her child to be raised in the UK.

But Jarrah died on Thursday, according to a medical certificate that gave pneumonia as the cause of death. He was less than three weeks old.

Because the baby was born before Ms Begum was deprived of UK citizenship by the Home Office, he was considered British.

The home secretary has been criticised for refusing to allow Ms Begum to return to the UK with her child.

Other citizenship cases

Ms Begum's sister, Renu, wrote to him two weeks ago on behalf of the family challenging the decision to remove citizenship - which she described as Shamima's "only hope at rehabilitation".

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Media captionSajid Javid: "I will not shy away from using those powers at my disposal to protect this country."

In a BBC interview last month, Shamima Begum said although it was "wrong" that innocent people had died in the 2017 Manchester Arena attack, it was "kind of retaliation" for attacks on IS.

Details have also emerged of two more women from the UK, who are in Syrian camps with their young children, who have been stripped of their citizenship.

Sources told the BBC that the decision to remove their citizenship was taken by the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

Reema Iqbal and her sister, Zara, from east London, were first named by the Sunday Times, quoting legal sources.

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