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Shamima Begum should be allowed to return home, terrorism watchdog says

BRITAIN’S terror watchdog has added his voice to calls for Shamima Begum to be brought home. 

Independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Jonathan Hall KC is expected argue in a speech that British or formerly British women who joined Islamic State (Isis) should be allowed to return from Syria because that is the position taken by Britain’s allies, including the United States.

Ms Begum was 15 when she and two friends left their homes in east London to join the terror group in 2015. 

A legal challenge seeking to restore her British citizenship was rejected last week, despite a judge ruling that there was a “credible suspicion” that she had been trafficked as a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Her citizenship was revoked in 2019 on grounds of national security. 

The decision by the Special immigration Appeals Commission means that Ms Begum must remain in a Syrian detention camp, where she has lived since the fall of the Isis “caliphate.”

She is among an estimated 60 British women and children held by Kurdish forces in north-eastern Syria. 

Mr Hall is expected to raise concerns about children in these camps being exposed to Isis indoctrination when he gives a speech at King’s College London, according to the Times. “For UK-linked children, the less time spent being incubated as cubs of the caliphate the better,” he will say. 

The watchdog is also expected to argue that women who joined Isis pose less of a terror risk. 

Ms Begum’s lawyers, who have vowed to appeal against the “draconian” decision, argue that she is being “unlawfully and arbitrarily” detained in Syria without trial. 

The government’s use of its power to remove citizenship powers has been branded racist by rights campaigners. 

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