SHAMIMA Begum is the British schoolgirl who travelled to Syria to fight for the Islamic State, but how old is the teenager and could she be jailed if she returns to the UK?
Shamima, now 19-years-old, travelled to Syria at the age of 15 and wants to be shown mercy to be allowed to return to east London. The teenager spoke to The Times at a refugee camp in northern Syria and said she would “do anything required to be able to come home and live quietly with my child”. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned he “will not hesitate” to prevent the return of Britons who travelled to join ISIS and said they were “full of hate for our country.”
Ms Begum’s family has pleaded for the 19-year-old to be shown mercy and allowed to return to east London.
She said she is “not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago”.
Will she end up in prison?
Her family is calling upon the UK Government to help bring her home.
Shamima could face a temporary exclusion order (TEO) which were introduced in 2015.
They can last up to two years and can be imposed on those suspected of involvement in terrorism abroad.
This makes it unlawful for them to return to the UK without engaging with authorities.
A TEO is enforced by cancelling travel documents and through watch lists, and the measure allows for the imposition of certain measures on an individual once they do arrive back.
The powers were unused in 2016, while nine TEOs were issued in 2017.
Shamima will face an investigation if she does find a route back to the UK.
The investigation will determine whether she has committed any criminal offences and establish if she poses a threat.
However, authorities have faced difficulties obtaining evidence to prove someone committed crimes in Syria.
Figures disclosed in the Commons last year suggested that only around one in 10 returnees has been prosecuted over “direct action” in Syria.
Although ministers say a significant proportion of those who have come back were assessed as no longer being of national security concern.
Security minister Ben Wallace said: “There are a range of terrorism offences where individuals can be convicted for crimes committed overseas and we can also use temporary exclusion orders to control an individuals’s return to the UK.”
Women and girls returning from ISIS strongholds have been held in detention and questioned when they landed back on British soil.
However the chance of being convicted of terrorism is low, although a new law was recently passed by parliament made it an offence to enter or remain in overseas terror hotspots.
These are officially termed “designated areas” and those found guilty can face up to 10 years in jail.