The Bangladesh ministry of foreign affairs has insisted that Begum is a British citizen by right and had never requested dual citizenship, the Guardian reported.
“Bangladesh asserts that Ms Shamima Begum is not a Bangladeshi citizen. She is a British citizen by birth and never applied for dual nationality with Bangladesh … There is no question of her being allowed to enter into Bangladesh,” Shahriar Alam, the state minister of foreign affairs, said in a statement issued to the Guardian, adding that his government had learned of Britain’s intention to cancel her citizenship rights from media reports.
The statement came in opposition to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid who declared earlier on Wednesday that he would not waver in his determination to deprive the 19-year-old, who fled to Syria four years ago to marry a Daesh fighter, of her citizenship.
Begum herself had insisted to BBC News that she would be left stateless if she were to lose her British citizenship.
“I have one citizenship […] and if you take that away from me, I don’t have anything. I don’t think they are allowed to do that. This is a life-changing decision and they haven’t even spoken to me,” she said.
The 19-year-old, who gave birth to her baby boy on Sunday, said she had not been informed of the decision prior to seeing the letter.
“I don’t know what to say. I am not that shocked but I am a bit shocked. It’s a bit upsetting and frustrating. I heard that other people are being sent back to Britain so I don’t know why my case is any different to other people or is it just because I was on the news four years ago?” she added.
The Home Secretary insisted on Wednesday night that he “would never make any decision that would make an individual stateless” yet noted he had to weigh the law and the impact on people’s lives against the potential risk of returnees trying to radicalise people in the UK in deciding whether to deprive someone of their citizenship.
“In certain circumstances, we will remove them of their nationality. I won’t hesitate to do that if that is the only option to me to keep people safe in the United Kingdom. There’s a number of things that need to be in place […] one of those is to make sure if you do go ahead and strip them of their nationality you do not leave them stateless,” Javid told ITV.
The Home Secretary also outlined that the citizenship rights of Begum’s baby son, who was born just days before the government moved to deprive her rights, are unaffected, noting that “children should not suffer, so if a parent loses their British citizenship it does not affect the rights of their child.”
Asif Salam, an immigration solicitor from Salam Immigration, noted that the child cannot possibly live without his mother in the UK so “because of the child, the mother could by default get back her nationality or get a limited leave to remain – to be able to live with her child in the UK.”
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Sir Ed Davey, cited by the Sun, noted that “membership of a terrorist group is a serious crime, as is encouraging or supporting terrorism. But Shamima Begum should face justice for those crimes in the UK.”
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has already expressed interest in the teenager, saying that Begum would be spoken to by counter-terror cops if she were to return to the UK from Syria.
Begum was 15 when she left London four years ago with friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultanan to marry a Daesh fighter in Syria. Recently, she has expressed her desire to return to Britain with her son, claiming in an interview with Sky News that she was “just a housewife” and that she didn’t take part in any terror activities.