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Britain Obliged To Let Runaway Isis Brits Back, Jack Straw Says
19 February 2019, 17:12 | Updated: 19 February 2019, 17:28
Former Home Secretary Jack Straw says Britain has to allow runaway Isis Brits back, otherwise international law would “break down”.
Speaking to Eddie Mair, the ex-Labour frontbencher added Shamima Begum and other Brits running away to join the Islamic State group should face a full investigation on their return - regardless of age.
Begum, 19, left Bethnal Green four years ago for Syria with two school friends.
She nows wants to return to Britain after being recently interviewed in a Syrian refugee camp.
It's sparked a fierce debate whether the teenager should be allowed back.
Mr Straw, however, said as a British citizen, the UK was obliged to let her and other runaways return.
"If they are only British citizens, they were born here, then we are bound to let them back," he said.
"International law would break down if individual states could declare their own citizens who were born in that country as stateless. So you have to let them back.
"I would certainly ensure that they were rigorously questioned when they came back and where appropriate they were prosecuted regardless of the age of which they left or they came back."
Asked whether special previsions should be made for people, like Begum, who left when they were 15, he continued: "No because we’ve got perfectly good juvenile courts here and the age of a defendant is taken into account in the criminal process.
"So I don’t think you have to make special provision for them.
"The people who do come back should count themselves lucky that they’re not being held forever in a Kurdish jail or worse."