Sangeetha Iengar was invited onto LBC radio on 2nd April 2019 to discuss the UK’s response to Shamima Begum’s latest interview with The Times. In the interview, Ms Begum described her remorse, her fear of reprisals whilst in the camp and a deep desire to return to the UK and her family.
Sangeetha explained first that there are two very different portraits of Ms Begum that have dominated the media. The first is a sympathetic portrait of a British teenager, born in Britain, educated in Britain, radicalised in Britain and having sustained the deep trauma of losing three children by the age of 19. The second is of a young outspoken supporter of ISIS, who knowingly and remorselessly abandoned Britain and its values to adopt ISIS values, support its terror and begin a family in the Caliphate.
Sangeetha explained that legally what is interesting is the Home Secretary’s decision to deprive Ms Begum of her citizenship, rather than apply to court for a ‘TEO” (Temporary Exclusion Order). A TEO is a power that was established by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 as a way to manage the return of the numerous British citizens known to be travelling to fight in Syria and Iraq.
In choosing the most draconian power available to him, the Home Secretary has ensured that the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) will be focused on whether or not Ms Begum is rendered stateless, rather than have our authorities interrogate and investigate which of the two portraits of Ms Begum are more correct. From which we might improve our understanding of how radicalisation happens on our doorstep, and how we can better counter it.
You can listen to the interview again by downloading the LBC mobile app here and accessing Nick Ferrari’s programme of 2nd April 2019. Sangeetha was interviewed between 0835-0850am.
Related barristers: Sangeetha Iengar