Bring ISIS Brides Home – Labour Article
When talking about the case of Shamima Begum, one can’t help thinking of the shocking crimes of ISIS. A visceral reaction of disgust and contempt for the suffering the terror group has caused is an easy one to conjure up in the minds of anyone with a mere mention of the name. This is partly because of how recent many of the attacks committed by the group are in memory. Whether we will make the right choice to deal with the remnants, however, is not so certain.
However history judges our leaders’ involvement in the middle east and how it led to ISIS, we got involved in the region to begin with as the self-proclaimed upholders of civil law, democracy and human rights. By the values we chose to intervene with, those values should be upheld when dealing with justice. There are two reasons why not letting Shamima Begum back into the UK is wrong, from a criminal standpoint and a humanitarian one.
The principles of our society are that of reason; to think before we act and to always have justification for our acts. Our system of governance is based on openness, solidarity and to benefit the most amount of people possible. There are those who betrayed these values, went to war with them as a collective and supported that collective until the very end.
However, this is not a recent phenomenon, in the Second World War there were those who had betrayed the country and had assisted the axis regimes. Notable names such as John Amery were not simply left to their own devices once the fighting had stopped, that was not an option to the allied powers. Instead, they were hunted down, deported and put on trial. We made the right choice, to try them as criminals under the values that they had chosen to reject, the values they went to war with.
We can extend this not only to Isis brides but all foreign fighters. Because to leave them to their own devices in lawless lands is simply kicking the can down the road. Hoping that they never appear again.
We pride ourselves on our exceptional ability to upload civil law around the globe. That our legal system is something to be admired, above the autocratic regimes of the countries we send our soldiers to fight in. However, in the case of bringing back one mother and her child, suddenly it is deemed as a threat we simply cannot handle within our borders, despite the UK having the highest incarceration rates in western Europe. We see no remorse to condemn them to the lawlessness of a war zone. We see no reason to try to rehabilitate them.
The threat of Islamic terror in our country has done much to erode trust and openness in our criminal justice system post 7/7. The work started by the last Labour government is now being continued under our increasingly nationalist and reactionary home office.
We must be wary, our criminal justice system is in a delicate balance between reform and punishment. We must be careful to not upset that balance, for a justice system that can only punish will lead to tyranny.
Written by Guest Labour Writer, Joseph McLaughlin
Point of Information
The Justice System is Serving the right justice – A Conservative Response
I can say that while I agree with my colleague about not upsetting the balance between reform and justice, there are some criminals that beyond reforming. Shamima Begum is one of those cases. She has not shown remorse for her actions and no compassion for the lives her group has destroyed. She only wants to come back to the West now because it would be more suitable for her. As my colleague Dinah mentioned in August, even a London flat is better than a Syrian tent. Maybe she ought to live amongst those whose families ISIS have ripped apart. Perhaps then she might begin to show remorse and compassion.
Begum has only shown that she wants to be part of Western Society because it is more comfortable than Syria, something proved by the pictures of her dressing up in Western clothing. She doesn’t however share any values that would make her Western, making her incompatible to live in this society. She chose to go and live in Syria despite knowing it was a war-torn state. As a result, she should stick with that choice.
As to Joseph’s point about security, I turn to the ruling of the Supreme Court. They said that they would not force the government to bring her back to the UK. This is because a clear case of the national security risks that she poses has been demonstrated. Furthermore, Dinah explains that even the most dangerous terror offenders get 14 years in jail, and after that, they walk. That is hardly a secure sentence for an ISIS bride no? Shamima doesn’t have to be in the UK to fight her case. So blocking her entry on national security grounds makes sense, especially as she has been involved with a terrorist group.
Finally, this is not simply kicking the can down the road as is being suggested. Shamima Begum is currently in a camp under armed guard, so she is not able to simply disappear off the radar. She will not be able to leave to form her own group or create any more problems in Syria than she already has. She will be properly kept in Syria, and not allowed to roam free.
Written by Senior Conservative Writer, Kieran Burt
The Need for a Fair Trial – Liberal Response
I’m going to tread a fine middle line between Joseph and Kieran. Without a doubt, it is absolutely essential we uphold the rule of law. Fair trials are not just the rights of British citizens alone, but of every single human being, regardless of nationality. Shamima Begum is no different.
However, this does not mean Shamima should be given a free pass to return. She has supported crimes against both our national values and human rights. Rightfully so, we can consider her a threat to national security.
Yet, should we be as hardline as Kieran? I argue no. A degree of forgiveness is essential. If Britain as a nation wants to set an example to the World and its citizens. Yet, this should not just be some limp ‘forgive and forget’: virtue must be wise or else it can be potentially dangerous. In this case, forgiveness should come with the condition of service to the community, detention, or rehabilitation, depending on the verdict of her trial.
Enter the need for a free and fair hearing. Kieran is right to bring up the Supreme Court’s decision but has omitted a key part of their ruling. In fact, the Supreme Court has taken a moderate and reasonable path, taking up Joseph’s need for a reasonable society. The courts should await a fair hearing, which for the moment is not accessible to Shamima.
Tellingly, Kieran’s response rests on hearsay and conjecture, contrary to the principle of a fair verdict. Instead, we should hold off judgement until Shamima is in a safer area with access to real legal resources. However, who knows when this will be?
Written by Chief Liberal Writer, Frank Allen