People can still be a threat to national security even if they have been brainwashed

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    People can still be a threat to national security even if they have been brainwashed

    People traded with Syria and “brainwashing” could still be a threat to national security, the home ministry said in Shamima Begum’s appeal against her impeachment British citizenship.

    Ms Begum was 15 when she traveled from Bethnal Green, east London, through Turkey to territory controlled by the so-called Islamic State (IS).

    Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found nine months pregnant in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

    Ms Begum, now 23, is challenging the Home Office’s decision to strip her of her British citizenship at the Special Immigration Appeals Tribunal (SIAC).


    If you have been exposed for a long period of time, there is a serious problem

    Sir James Eady KC

    SIAC heard that, according to security services, people who traveled to Syria to join IS were “likely to have been radicalised, contributed to the integrity of ISIS and may have received military training, fought with ISIS or participated in acts of terrorism”. .

    “They were subjected to routine acts of extreme violence that likely had the effect of desensitizing people and encouraging them to view violent terrorist acts as an ‘acceptable and legitimate course of action,'” the court said in written submissions. .

    Sir James Eady QC of the Home Office said on Thursday that Ms Begum had been in IS-held territory for four years before she was stripped of her British citizenship in 2019.

    He later referred to statements made by Ms Begum to the media, including in an interview where she said she was not “embarrassed” by seeing the head in the bin.

    “If you’ve been exposed for a long period of time, there’s a big problem,” Sir James said.

    The lawyer also said security services had identified several potential risks from people returning to the UK from IS-held territory, including being involved in planning or carrying out terrorist attacks.


    You can be trafficked in the most horrible, unacceptable ways, exposed in the most unacceptable ways, desensitized in the most unacceptable ways and yet unfortunately… still be a security threat

    Sir James Eady KC

    “Just providing support, courier service, providing funds and logistical support… They don’t have to be bombers,” Sir James added.

    Ms Begum’s lawyers said she was “recruited, transported, transported, hidden and received in Syria for the purposes of ‘sexual exploitation’ and ‘marriage’ to an adult man”.

    But Sir James said on Thursday that the threat to national security was the most important factor.

    “You can be trafficked in the most horrible, unacceptable ways, exposed in the most unacceptable ways, desensitized in the most unacceptable ways and yet unfortunately … still be a security threat.”

    He said: “If they really do pose such a danger, it doesn’t matter how they came to be such a danger. The important thing is that they really pose such a danger.”

    He added: “No one disputes that it is entirely possible for a person to be a victim of trafficking, manipulation, brainwashing or the like, and still present the most serious danger to society.

    “A threat to national security means a person who poses a threat to society.”

    Sir James previously said then Home Secretary Sajid Javid was aware of Begum’s “age and circumstances of travel to Syria” when he made the decision to strip her of her British citizenship.


    The available evidence shows that rather than treating the appellant as a victim, a child who was manipulated and exploited, the Home Secretary assumed that she had acted “voluntarily” in going to Syria and joining Isis.

    Samantha Knights KC

    A lawyer later said Ms Begum had traveled to Syria “with her eyes wide open” to the brutality of IS.

    He said: “She traveled to align herself with ISIS and once in Syria she actually joined ISIS.

    “The assessment is that she did it with her eyes open. The ideology of ISIS and their uncompromising brutality have been widely covered in the media.”

    Ms Begum’s lawyers argued that she was “persuaded, influenced and influenced by her friends by a determined and effective Isis propaganda machine”.

    Samantha Knights KC continued in written submissions: “What available evidence shows that rather than treating the appellant as a victim, a child who was manipulated and exploited, the Home Secretary assumed that she was acting ‘voluntarily’ in traveling to Syria and leveling from Isis.”

    Thursday’s public hearing ended, and Friday’s hearing is expected to be closed.

    Mr Justice Jay said: “The Commission will reserve its judgment in this case, there will be a judgment in private and public.”

    The judge then said he was concerned about a possible leak of the judgment between its being sent to lawyers for both sides and the publication of the ruling.

    “It could be inhumane to Ms Begum or it could give her false hope depending on the outcome,” the judge said.

    A written ruling is expected next year.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/shamima-begum-people-syria-british-islamic-state-b2232345.html

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