I know Shamima Begum better than most – we need to stop saying she was some kind of victim: ‘Danger tourist’ who befriended ISIS bride in prison camp says she ‘isn’t a dumb kid’ – and wonders if she was trying to groom him during time together
- Jihadi bride lost a bid to challenge the decision to revoke her citizenship
- READ MORE: How Begum claimed she was interrogated by Jihadi John
A tourist who befriended ISIS bride Shamima Begum has urged people not to treat the jihadi as a victim.
Father-of-four Andrew Drury, 56, is a ‘danger tourist’ from Surrey who has travelled to destinations including North Korea, Chernobyl and Iraq.
He formed a ‘strong friendship’ with Begum over the last two years, meeting her first in June 2021 at the al-Roj prison camp in Syria, before he spoke to her via WhatsApp and kept visiting her.
The jihadi bride today lost her bid to strike down the Government’s decision to revoke her UK nationality for travelling to join ISIS aged 15.
Mr Drury wrote in The Spectator: ‘We need to stop saying that Shamima was some kind of teenage victim.
Father-of-four Andrew Drury, 56, is a ‘danger tourist’ who got to know Shamima Begum over two years
The jihadi bride today lost her bid to strike down the Government’s decision to revoke her UK nationality for travelling to join ISIS aged 15
Shamima Begum’s lawyers give a statement outside the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber, Field House
Mr Drury wrote in The Spectator: ‘We need to stop saying that Shamima was some kind of teenage victim’
‘Everyone is an individual, responsible to some degree for their own actions.
‘She was certainly mature enough to get herself through airports and over the Turkish-Syrian border.
‘This isn’t a dumb kid.’
Mr Drury last saw Begum in June 2022 and has since wondered if she was trying to groom him during their time together.
He said while he has ‘mixed feelings’ about her citizenship being revoked the Isis bride has ‘shocked’ him by saying she was ‘over’ the death of her children.
Mr Drury last saw Begum in June 2022 and has since wondered if she was trying to groom him during their time together
Mr Drury also said she was keen to do TV interviews and threw a ‘tantrum’ ahead of filming before suddenly transforming into someone with ‘a confidence I had not expected’.
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In the run-up to this morning’s court hearing, Ms Begum has made numerous media appearances – including a magazine cover, TV interviews and a 10-part BBC podcast series.
She denied reports in the media that she had sewn suicide vests or been part of ISIL’s [ISIS’s] morality police and claimed that her activities were limited to being a housewife and mother.
The dim view MI5 took of her publicity campaign was revealed today in the copy of the judgment written by Mr Justice Jay. ‘In September and November 2021, Ms Begum was interviewed by Good Morning Britain and Sky News,’ it read.
‘The MI5 assessment is that many of the comments Ms Begum made in her later interviews are likely to have been self-serving and an attempt to obtain favourable media coverage in the run-up to this appeal.’
The jihadi bride appearing on Good Morning Britain in an exclusive interview in September 2021
The jihadi bride was 15 when she and two other east London schoolgirls fled to join ISIS in February 2015, with Ms Begum marrying a 23-year-old ISIS fighter ten days after arriving in Syria.
Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds by the former home secretary Sajid Javid shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.
READ MORE: MI5 accused Shamima Begum of ‘self serving PR attempts’ with magazine cover and TV interviews in a bid to win British citizenship appeal – as experts warn her court battle will cost British taxpayers more than £5million in legal aid
Ms Begum, now 23, brought a challenge against the Home Office at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), where her lawyers argued she should be allowed to return to Britain on the basis she was ‘a victim of child sex trafficking’.
However, the Home Office defended the decision by saying the security services ‘continue to assess’ that she poses a risk to the UK.
Judges dismissed Ms Begum’s challenge today, ruling that while there was a ‘credible suspicion’ that Ms Begum was trafficked to Syria for ‘sexual exploitation’ this was not enough for her appeal to succeed.
Mr Justice Jay added that whether she posed a threat to national security was a decision for politicians, not the courts.
With Ms Begum’s lawyers vowing to appeal the ruling, a legal expert warned the taxpayer would continue to receive a massive bill for legal aid costs.
Paul Fulcher, who runs specialist firm Legal Costs Experts, has predicted the case could end up costing taxpayers more than £5million when all legal costs are accounted for.
He told MailOnline today: ‘It’s going to go on. Her lawyers have come out and said they’re going to keep fighting. Ultimately they get paid win, lose or draw.
‘The taxpayer has probably already paid out millions and it’s likely to be millions more.
‘KCs can charge £5,000 a day, although legal aid doesn’t usually pay out at those rates. Then there’s the solicitors and a massive team behind them too.
‘It’s going to keep racking up and racking up. It’s a golden egg.
‘Ultimately at some point someone needs to call a halt to it so the taxpayer doesn’t keep having to pay out.’
The former East London schoolgirl gave an interview to GB News last year
Begum on Sky News in 2019, when she said of ISIS: ‘It was nice at first, like in the videos’
READ MORE: BBC allows Shamima Begum to give ‘her full account of what really happened’ when she joined ISIS in a 10-part podcast
Today’s ruling has been welcomed by the Government.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: ‘My priority is, and always will be, the safety and security of the UK.
‘I am pleased with the decision from the court today, who have agreed with the Government’s position on every appeal ground.’
‘I welcome today’s court ruling, which has again upheld my decision to remove an individual’s citizenship on national security grounds,’ he said.
‘This is a complex case but home secretaries should have the power to prevent anyone entering our country who is assessed to pose a threat to it.’
But the decision drew the ire of Ms Begum’s legal team, with her lawyer Gareth Peirce calling it ‘an extraordinary judgment delivered in an extraordinary way’.
Speaking outside Field House in central London, she added that the commission ‘is clearly deeply troubled by the case it is having to decide and by the limitations placed on it by the Supreme Court’.
She continued: ‘The implication, the outcome, that we face is that no British child who has been trafficked outside the UK will be protected by the British state if the home secretary invokes national security.’
Daniel Furner, also part of Ms Begum’s legal team, said the case was ‘nowhere near over’ and they would be challenging the ruling.
He said: ‘In terms of the legal fight, that’s nowhere near over, we’re not going into details about exactly what that means at this stage.
‘What else this judgment calls out for though is some courage and some leadership from the Home Secretary to look at this case afresh in light of the clear and compelling factual findings this court has made. We are going to challenge this decision.’
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