'Strong reports' IS teen bride's baby has died

Saul Bowman
March 10, 2019

The UK's Opposition took aim at Mr Javid for his decision, with Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott saying: "It is against worldwide law to make someone stateless, and now an innocent child has died as a result of a British woman being stripped of her citizenship".

A paramedic told the BBC the baby, who was about two weeks old, had a lung infection and died on Thursday.

Javid said it would have been very hard to arrange but repeated visits by foreign journalists to the displaced people's camp suggest it's a relatively secure location in Syria.

Javid also confirmed that Begum's son was a British citizen, though he said it would be "incredibly difficult" to facilitate the return of a child from Syria.

Aged 19 and heavily pregnant, she resurfaced in a refugee camp last month and said she wanted to return to Britain as the self-styled caliphate collapsed.

Dal Babu, a former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent and friend of Begum's family, told BBC Newsnight on Friday: "We've failed, as a country, to safeguard the child". However, this looks unlikely as the Netherlands authorities have said that they will not assist their own nationals returning from fighting in Syria, so are unlikely to help a foreign national. Her husband, Dutch Daesh fighter called Yago Riedijk, is now staying in a prison in Syria.

Speaking to the BBC before it was confirmed whether the baby had died, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Obviously I don't know whether that news is true or not but what I will say, sadly there are probably many children, obviously perfectly innocent, who have been born in this war zone".

She is a product of our society. and I think we had a moral responsibility to her and to her baby, Jarrah.

British law states that the government cannot remove a person's citizenship if that would make them stateless, unless there are "reasonable grounds" to believe they can become a citizen of another country.

Her family, who vowed to appeal against Mr Javid's decision, had also written to the Conservative minister, pleading with him to allow a safe passage for the boy to come to the UK.

In a move that drew much criticism across the political and public spectrum, Mr Javid then revoked the teenager's British citizenship.

The women's parents are originally from Pakistan, and the Home Office could pursue the argument that they are Pakistani nationals.

Begum left London for Syria in 2015 with two other schoolgirls to marry fighters from so-called Islamic State and has since had her British citizenship revoked.

In her interviews she indicated she wanted to return to the United Kingdom, but expressed little remorse or indication that she had shed the caliphate's ideology. "This is a reminder of why it is so, so unsafe for anyone to be in this war zone". Her husband, Yago Riedijk, a Dutchman who has admitted fighting for the Islamic State, is being held at a Kurdish detention center.

Begum's son, Jerah, was born on 17 February 2019.

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