Shamima Begum could be arrested on return to UK, says Met Police chief

19 February 2019, 11:00 | Updated: 19 February 2019, 13:05

IS bride Shamima Begum should expect "to be spoken to" and could be arrested on her return to the UK, the Met Police commissioner has said.

Cressida Dick has confirmed that Shamima Begum would be questioned by police upon her arrival back in the Uk.

Her comments come after the teenager, who fled her London home aged 15 to go to Syria and wed an Islamic State fighter, has told of how she wants to come back to raise her baby in Britain.

The child was born this week - to the now 19-year-old former Bethnal Green schoolgirl - in a Syrian refugee camp.

Shamima Begum left her home in east London in 2015 to support IS in Syria but wants to come back for the sake of her third child. Her two older children have died.

Ms Dick said: "If she does, under whatever circumstances, arrive at our borders somebody in her type of circumstances could expect, of course, to be spoken to and if there is the appropriate necessity, to be potentially arrested and certainly investigated.

"If that results in sufficient evidence for a prosecution then it will result in sufficient evidence for a prosecution.

"The officers will deal with whatever they are confronted with."

There are plans to change the law to make travelling to certain terror hotspots illegal, but this could not be applied retrospectively to Shamima Begum.

Ms Dick added: "This case and other cases that are talked about in the same sentences just really underline how awful the circumstances are and have been in Syria and just how dangerous it has been, and would continue to be, for anybody from this country to think of travelling there. Dangerous physically and dangerous legally.

"If there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution it is our job to look at the threat they pose if they are returning from Syria and we do that with every single person who comes back from Syria and then manage the risk with colleagues in the (security and intelligence) agencies."

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said Shamima Begum will "face consequences" for backing the terror organisation.

He admitted the UK could not stop British citizens returning because international law prevents making someone stateless.

Mr Javid said the government "cannot ignore the threat" of those who left Britain to travel to Syria or Iraq, with more than 350 having returned and a similar number still believed to be in the Middle East.

He revealed an estimated 900 people left the UK to join terror groups in Syria and Iraq, with 20% having since been killed in battle, 40% having returned, and 40% still somewhere in the region.

"Whatever role they took in the so-called caliphate, they all supported a terrorist organisation and in doing so they have shown they hate our country and the values we stand for," he said.

"This is a death cult that enslaved and raped thousands of Yazidi girls and celebrated attacks on our shores, including the tragic Manchester bombing that targeted young girls."

Shamima Begum told the BBC the Manchester attacks were "a two-way thing" after bombings in Baghuz - "because women and children are being killed back in the Islamic State right now and it's kind of retaliation".

"Like, their justification was that it was retaliation so I thought 'OK, that is a fair justification'," she said.

In an interview with ITV, Shamima Begum said Mr Javid should not see her as a threat if she comes back to Britain.

She said: "I'm a 19-year-old girl with a new born baby. I don't have any weapons; I don't want to hurt anyone even if I did have weapons or anything.

"He has no proof that I was a threat other than that I was in ISIS, that's it."

Having earlier said she did not entirely regret going to join IS, she told ITV she did "feel bad for anyone who was affected by the actions of ISIS".

In a recent interview with Sky News, Shamima Begum said she was "just a housewife" during her time with IS.

She married a young Dutch fighter called Yago Riedijk three weeks after she arrived in Syria.

She admitted she was aware of beheadings and executions being carried out by the extremists, but said she was "okay with it" because she had heard "Islamically that is allowed".