BRITISH foreign secretary Jeremy Corbyn has defended Shamima Begum’s right to legal aid saying she has every right to defend herself.
Begum has been granted legal aid to fight the Home Office’s decision to remove her British citizenship.
“She is a British national and, therefore, she has that right, like any of us do, to apply for legal aid if she has a problem,” Corbyn was quoted as saying. “She has legal rights, just like anybody else does.
“The whole point of legal aid is that if you’re facing a prosecution then you’re entitled to be represented and that’s a fundamental rule of law, a fundamental point in any democratic society.
“We cannot and should not judge outside of a court.
“A court must make that decision and every person in front of a court, whatever they’re accused of doing, how heinous or bad the crime is, is entitled to that representation.”
Begum left the UK for Syria at the age of 15 to marry a Daesh (Islamic State) fighter. In February, home secretary Sajid Javid stripped her off her British citizenship.
Javid’s action came after Begum was found in a Syrian refugee camp and said she wanted to come back to the UK.
The Legal Aid Agency, meanwhile, refused to comment on reports that Begum has been granted funding.
A spokesperson said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases. Anybody applying for legal aid in a Special Immigration Appeal Commission case is subject to strict eligibility tests.”