A teenager who ran away as a schoolgirl to join the Islamic State group, will be stripped of her British citizenship despite pleading to return to the UK.
According to a letter sent to her mother, Home Secretary Sajid Javid ordered the now-19-year-old Ms Begum’s citizenship to be canceled.
Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer representing Ms Begum’s family, said they were “very disappointed” over the move and were “considering all legal avenues”.
ITV News reported a letter from the Home Office that was received by Ms Begum’s mother on Tuesday (local time).
“Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship,” it read.
“In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary’s decision has been served of file today (19 February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made.”
The letter asked the mother to inform her daughter of the decision, as well as her right to appeal.
The move comes after Ms Begum returned to the public eye when she was found heavily pregnant living in a refugee camp in northern Syria.
She made pleas for forgiveness this week and asked to be accepted back in the UK.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has signalled she could be arrested and investigated if she returns to Britain.
International law forbids nations from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship, but it is possible Ms Begum, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, held dual citizenship.
Ms Begum has said she does not regret travelling to Syria and was partly inspired by videos of fighters beheading hostages, as well as videos showing “the good life” under IS.
“It’s made me stronger, tougher. I married my husband. I wouldn’t have found someone like him back in the UK,” she told the UK’s Sky News this week.
While criticising some aspects of life under the caliphate, she said she had been “OK with” beheadings carried out by Islamic State adherents because she believed it was allowed under Islamic law.
“I think a lot of people should have sympathy towards me for everything I’ve been through,” Ms Begum said.
“I just was hoping that maybe for me, for the sake of me and my child, they let me come back,” she said.