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Isis member Shamima Begum’s case shows why a new treason law is needed to tackle terrorism

Azeem Ibrahim

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Lucky license-fee payers are now able to listen to an unrepentant member of Isis, Shamima Begum, justify herself in a protracted, multi-part BBC podcast.

For the moment, she is beyond British law, holed up in a refugee camp in Syria. Only a new law can bring her to justice. And there is good reason for that to be a modern law against treason – the very offence she committed by renouncing her allegiance to Britain and joining a terrorist group in Syria.

Critics may dismiss this as an unreasonable law – a medieval one. But it is entirely justified. Britain is in an unhappy spot. Many hundreds of our young people travelled abroad to join and to fight for Isis (aka Islamic State) during its most territorially expansive days. Although thankfully many of those terrorists were killed on the battlefield by the international coalition and its allies, many more remain. Some of them are in prison camps like Al-Hol in Syria – a place where Isis is plainly in force and in strength. Others are the prisoners of regional partners like the Syrian Kurdish YPG – whose loyalties are ever-shifting and who have repeatedly warned of the inevitability of prison breaks and escapes.

Prosecuting foreign crimes committed in war is difficult. Documentary evidence is lacking. Witnesses cannot be located. Often no one wants to talk. We know that joining Isis is akin to joining both a murderous cult and a criminal gang. Members condoned and committed much evil violence. But we cannot prove that sufficiently to charge them under current laws.

Read the full article in the Scotsman.