Sir Vince Cable has said that Shamima Begum, the teenager who fled London to join the Islamic State but now wants to return to Britain, should be brought back to the UK “to face trial”.
Asked by Julia Hartley-Brewer for his thoughts on the topic, which dominated headlines on February 14, he said: “She shouldn’t be rescued, but she is a British national.
“She is above the age of criminal responsibility and it would appear she may well have been involved in some extremely nasty activities in Syria.
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“She should be brought back to face trial. She is British and she is our responsibility.”
Begum described to the Times how she has no regrets about running away to join the terrorist group, but had become disillusioned with them and now wants to return.
The 19-year-old, who is nine months pregnant, described how she wasn’t fazed by seeing a decapitated head in a bin.
"The caliphate is over. There was so much oppression and corruption that I don't think they deserved victory,” she said in the interview, and expressed her desire to give birth in the UK.
"I just want to come home to have my child. I'll do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child."
Her other two children died during her time in Syria.
No rescue planned
Security minister Ben Wallace told the BBC yesterday that Begum would not be rescued, and that if she did return, she should expect to be interviewed by police.
Mr Cable’s comments echoed those of Jacob Rees-Mogg, who said that under UK law she is “entitled to return".
Mr Rees-Mog said that “the law should… take its course if she has committed offences”, but said the fact she was 15 when she left should be taken into account.
“One has to think that a 15-year-old, there may be an extent that she is more sinned against than sinning when she went out there.
“I would be reluctant to be too harsh in charging, in this instance.”
Begum left the UK to go to Syria alongside two other teenage girls, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, all from Bethnal Green, east London.