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Home World News Washington Post World News Lawyer: ex-Islamic state bride was victim of child trafficking

Lawyer: ex-Islamic state bride was victim of child trafficking

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LONDON — Lawyers for a British woman whose British citizenship was revoked after she traveled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group argued on Monday that she should have been treated as a child trafficking victim.

Shamima Begum, now 23, was 15 when she and two other London schoolgirls joined the extremist group in February 2015. Authorities revoked her British citizenship for national security reasons shortly after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp in 2019.

Begum’s lawyers again appealed the UK government’s decision, arguing that officials had a legal duty to investigate whether she was a victim of human trafficking when her citizenship was revoked.

Attorney Samantha Knights told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission on Monday that Begum was influenced by a “determined and effective ISIS propaganda machine.”

Knights said in written submissions to the hearing that Begum, like many other young girls, was recruited by the Islamic State group and transported to Syria “for the purpose of ‘sexual exploitation’ and ‘marriage’ to an adult male.”

But James Eadie, representing the Department of the Interior, argued that the case was about national security, not child trafficking.

He said Begum remained in Syria for four years and left the IS-controlled area only for security reasons, not because of “a sincere withdrawal from the group”.

The UK Supreme Court ruled last year that Begum could not return to the UK to challenge her citizenship case. According to British media, she remains in a camp in northern Syria.

On Monday, an officer from Britain’s internal security agency MI5 told the hearing that it was “unthinkable” that Begum would not know what the Islamic State was doing as a terrorist organization at the time.

The officer was only identified as witness E and gave evidence from behind a screen.

The hearing will last five days and a ruling is expected at a later date.



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