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.
He said it now means that her family will need to launch a legal challenge on 19-year-old Begum’s behalf.
Shamima’s lawyer 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.
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.
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The Isil bride’s citizenship was revoked by the home secretary, Sajid Javid, earlier this year in a move only permissible under international law if it does not leave the individual stateless.
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.