London, Aug 31 (PTI) Shamima Begum, the London-born Bangladeshi-origin woman who fled the UK and joined the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist network as a teenager, was smuggled into Syria by a spy for Canada, a new book has claimed.
‘The Secret History of the Five Eyes’ by Richard Kerbaj, to be published on Thursday, claims that Canada privately admitted its involvement and then asked British authorities to cover up its role. The term “Five Eyes” refers to the network of intelligence-sharing between Canada, Britain, the US, Australia and New Zealand.
“For seven years now this has been covered up by the Canadians,” Kerbaj told the ‘Guardian’ and claimed that he interviewed multiple Canadian intelligence officials for the book to confirm the timeline of events.
“I think the cover-up is worse than the offence in many ways here because you would expect human intelligence agencies to recruit members of criminal groups and terrorist groups,” he said.
Begum, referred to as an ISIS bride after marrying a Dutch fighter of the terror network in Syria, gave birth to three children – all of whom later died. She was a 15-year-old schoolgirl when she and two fellow pupils at Bethnal Green academy travelled from east London to Syria in 2015.
She, along with her school friends Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, were met at Istanbul bus station for their onward journey to a life with ISIS in Syria by a man called Mohammed Al Rashed.
Rashed is said to have been a double agent who shared Begum’s passport details with Canada and smuggled dozens of others from Britain to fight for ISIS.
Begum family’s lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, has argued that the teenager was trafficked out of the UK. The suggestion that a western intelligence asset may have been involved, including organising bus tickets for the schoolgirl, will reignite the debate over the removal of her British citizenship in 2019 by then Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Last year, the UK Supreme Court upheld the decision to bar the now 23-year-old from returning to the UK. There was no suggestion in the Supreme Court judgment that the British authorities knew the circumstances of her smuggling into Syria.
Begum currently lives in a detention camp in northern Syria and is due to make a fresh case at a Special Immigration Appeals commission in November. PTI AK ZH ZH
This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.
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