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Shamima Begum's lawyer visits Syrian refugee camp where she is living, but is barred from meeting her by guards

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 17/03/2019 Callum Adams
Shamima Begum reading a letter from the Home Office © ITV News/PA Shamima Begum reading a letter from the Home Office

Shamima Begum's lawyer has been unable to get the Isis bride's permission to launch an appeal for British citizenship after he was blocked from entering the camp she is in by Syrian forces.

Tasnime Akunjee was stopped just "50 metres" from Begum after travelling thousands of miles to the al-Roj camp in north-eastern Syria.  He was there to get her signature on paperwork necessary to start the process to appeal against the government's decision to remove her UK citizenship.

Renu Begum, sister of teenage British girl Shamima Begum, holds a photo of her sister as she makes an appeal for her to return home at Scotland Yard, in London  February 22, 2015. Shamima Begum is one of three friends, two aged 15 and one 16, who left their east London homes on Tuesday and travelled to Gatwick airport where they caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul without telling their families. Police said they were working with Turkish authorities to try to find the girls and bring them home. REUTERS/Pool/Laura Lean (BRITAIN - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS SOCIETY) © Thomson Reuters Renu Begum, sister of teenage British girl Shamima Begum, holds a photo of her sister as she makes an appeal for her to return home at Scotland Yard, in London February 22, 2015. Shamima Begum is one of three friends, two aged 15 and one 16, who left their east London homes on Tuesday and travelled to Gatwick airport where they caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul without telling their families. Police said they were working with Turkish authorities to try to find the girls and bring them home. REUTERS/Pool/Laura Lean (BRITAIN - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS SOCIETY)

He said it now means that her family will need to launch a legal challenge on 19-year-old Begum's behalf.

The lawyer told the Guardian:  “She can’t get legal advice and I have even been there and tried, but got detained for my efforts.  It cannot be that this is in any way just.

“I knew which tent she was in, I got aerial photographs. Where I stood in the camp she was about two rows down- she was less than 50 metres from me. It was so frustrating.

FILE - This undated photo released by the Metropolitan Police of London, shows Shamima Begum, a young British woman who went to Syria to join the Islamic State group and now wants to return to Britain. During an interview, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Sunamganu, Bangladesh, Begum's father, Ahmed Ali, said his daughter’s citizenship should not be canceled and that she could be punished in the United Kingdom if it was determined she had committed a crime. (Metropolitan Police of London via AP, File) © ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE - This undated photo released by the Metropolitan Police of London, shows Shamima Begum, a young British woman who went to Syria to join the Islamic State group and now wants to return to Britain. During an interview, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Sunamganu, Bangladesh, Begum's father, Ahmed Ali, said his daughter’s citizenship should not be canceled and that she could be punished in the United Kingdom if it was determined she had committed a crime. (Metropolitan Police of London via AP, File) “Intelligence officers at the camp have decided that no one is allowed in or out of the camp – nothing gets in and nothing gets out, apart from food.”

Akunjee spent weeks obtaining the correct permissions to enter the camp but was denied access upon arrival after being questioned by officials.  He arrived a day after Begum's newborn son Jarrah died in the refugee camp.

The Isil bride's citizenship was revoked by the home secretary, Sajid Javid, earlier this year in a move only permissible under international law if it does not leave the individual stateless.

FILE - This is a Monday Feb. 23, 2015 file handout image  of a three image combo of stills taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police  Kadiza Sultana,  left, Shamima Begum, centre and and  Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey. A lawyer said one of three London schoolgirls who traveled to Islamic State-controlled area of Syria to become "jihadi brides" is believed to have been killed in an air strike. Tasnime Akunjee told the BBC Friday Aug. 12, 2016 that Kadiza Sultana's family had been told that she died in the IS stronghold of Raqqa several weeks ago. (Metropolitan Police via AP) © ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE - This is a Monday Feb. 23, 2015 file handout image of a three image combo of stills taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, centre and and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey. A lawyer said one of three London schoolgirls who traveled to Islamic State-controlled area of Syria to become "jihadi brides" is believed to have been killed in an air strike. Tasnime Akunjee told the BBC Friday Aug. 12, 2016 that Kadiza Sultana's family had been told that she died in the IS stronghold of Raqqa several weeks ago. (Metropolitan Police via AP) However, her lawyer has previously said that although Begum's parents are both from Bangladesh, their daughter does not have dual nationality.  

Akunjee is planning to appeal to UK courts with Begum's family to assess the legality of the government's decision to remove the Isil bride's citizenship. 

He said: “I made the case about why I needed to see her and the head of intelligence out there made some calls so I hung around for another day. But he said he had orders and no one could go in.

“We have got 28 days for her to sign this paperwork but no one can get to her. Now we will have to work with her family members to launch a legal challenge on her behalf.”

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