On Monday, British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn provoked fury when he insisted Shamima Begum, who allegedly worked with the terrorist group ISIS and is being stripped of her British citizenship, is still a British national and should be allowed to apply for legal aid to challenge that decision.
The Daily Mail reported that Corbyn said: “She is a British national and, therefore, she has that right, like any of us do, to apply for legal aid if she has a problem. She has legal rights, just like anybody else does. We cannot and should not judge outside of a court. A court must make that decision and every person in front of a court, whatever they're accused of doing, how heinous or bad the crime is, is entitled to that representation.” He called Home Secretary Sajid Javid's decision to strip the citizenship “very questionable.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen fired back, asserting it was “no surprise” Corbyn reacted the way he did, telling MailOnline: “It will come as no surprise that Jeremy Corbyn is supporting someone who was stitching suicide vests onto bombers a few months ago. People would not expect anything different from Jeremy Corbyn who has consistently supported terrorists and terrorist sympathizers, particularly if they are acting against our country.”
Tory MP David TC Davies pointed out that evidence had been found suggesting Begum sewed suicide bombers into explosive vests. He told Mail Online, “Given that evidence we need to do everything possible to ensure she does not come back into the UK. It’s staggering that we are now picking up legal bills for a bunch of lawyers who are going to work to get her back. Jeremy Corbyn needs to work out whose side he is on. Is he on the side of the British people, or people who worked to carry out acts [of] mayhem within our borders?’
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt supported Corbyn, saying, “On a personal level, it makes me very uncomfortable because she made a series of choices and she knew the choices she was making, so I think we made decisions about her future based on those choices. However, we are a country that believes that people with limited means should have access to the resources of the state if they want to challenge the decisions the state has made about them and, for obvious reasons, those decisions are made independent from politicians. The decision to deprive her of her citizenship was taken by a politician. Obviously the decision about whether she accesses legal aid or not has to be done independently.”
The Telegraph reported over the weekend that despite Begum’s claims that she was never involved in any brutal behavior, but rather simply served as an ISIS fighter’s wife, “She was allowed to carry a Kalashnikov rifle and earned a reputation as a strict ‘enforcer’ of Isil’s laws, such as dress codes for women, sources claimed.”
A law passed in Great Britain last week, called the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019, makes it a criminal offense to enter or remain in terror hot-spots overseas. Javid stated, “These new laws give the police the powers they need to disrupt terrorist plots earlier and ensure that those who seek to do us harm face just punishment.”