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ISIS bride Shamima Begum says losing British citizenship is 'heart-breaking' as she is shown letter from Home Office

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 20/02/2019 Olivia Tobin
a person posing for the camera © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

ISIS bride Shamima Begum has said losing her British citizenship is “heart-breaking” and “hard to swallow”.

The London teenager who fled Bethnal Green to move to Syria when she was 15 was shown a letter from the Home Office informing her of their decision to strip her of her UK status.

"I'm a bit shocked... It's a bit unjust on me and my son," she told ITV.

"I don't know what to say," she said. "I am not that shocked but I am a bit shocked. It’s a bit upsetting and frustrating. I feel like it’s a bit unjust on me and my son."

Watch: 'Sorry', says Shamina Begum, as she asks Britain to help her return from Syria

She added: "It’s kind of heart-breaking to read. My family made it sound like it would be a lot easier for me to come back to the UK when I was speaking to them in Baghouz. It’s kind of hard to swallow."

Related: IS teen's family vows to take legal action against the decision

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the 19-year-old was to be stripped of her British citizenship on Tuesday night.

International law forbids nations from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship, prompting speculation that Ms Begum, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, held dual citizenship.

Related: Javid accused of 'playing politics' after stripping IS teen of British citizenship

The Home Office is to argue that because Begum's mother was born in Bangladesh, her daughter is entitled to dual citizenship, meaning she would not be left stateless if her passport is revoked.

Related: IS bride's UK return - what is the law?

a person wearing a black hat: The teen left London for Syria when she was 15(BBC) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited The teen left London for Syria when she was 15(BBC)

Ms Begum, now 19, was shown a copy of the letter at the Syria refugee camp where she is being held.

The letter, which was delivered to Ms Begum’s mother, read: “Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship.

“In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary's decision has been served of file today (19 February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made.”

a man wearing a costume: Isis bridge Shamima Begum is interview by Sky News at a refugee camp in Syria (Sky News ) © Provided by Local News RSS EN-GB Isis bridge Shamima Begum is interview by Sky News at a refugee camp in Syria (Sky News )

Following the news of her citizenship being revoked, Ms Begum said she may explore possibly gaining citizenship of a different country through her Dutch husband in order to leave the Syria refugee camp where she currently resides.

The lawyer for the family of Ms Begum denied the teen has dual citizenship earlier today.

Tasnime Akunjee said she was born in the UK and does not hold dual nationality.

Related:'Stripping IS bride of her citizenship is a foolish move for Britain'

a woman standing in front of a tiled wall: Shamima Begum pictured at Gatwick Airport in February 2015 (EPA) © Provided by Local News RSS EN-GB Shamima Begum pictured at Gatwick Airport in February 2015 (EPA)

He said Ms Begum never had a Bangladeshi passport and is not a dual citizen.

He added the family were "very disappointed" over the decision to strip the teen of her British citizenship and they were "considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision".

The Home Office said such decisions are "not taken lightly" and are carried out "in order to protect this country".

"We do not comment on individual cases, but any decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on all available evidence and not taken lightly."

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