Justin Trudeau to 'follow up' on Shamima Begum spy claims

A new book claims Shamima Begum was smuggled to Syria by an informant of the Canadian intelligence service

Published

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he will "follow up" on allegations that a spy working for his country's intelligence service trafficked Shamima Begum and two other British schoolgirls into Syria.

Shamima, who was 15 when she travelled to Syria and joined Islamic State, managed to get into the country thanks to the work of a spy for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). According to a book out this week, the police and British security services covered this up.

In 2015 British police commenced an international search for Begum and her two schoolfriends Kadiza Sultana, at the time 16, and Amira Abase, then 15.

Kadiza Sultana,16, Shamima Begum,15 and 15-year-old Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey on Tuesday.
Kadiza Sultana,16, Shamima Begum,15 and 15-year-old Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey on Tuesday.

The three were intercepted by Mohammed al-Rashed at Istanbul bus station. He worked as an informant for the Canadian intelligence, who updated the Metropolitan police of the fact in March 2015.

However, neither Canadian nor British authorities acknowledged that this link was made.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he would not comment on reports that a Canadian intelligence agent smuggled Shamima Begum and her two friends into Syria.

During a visit to Barrow-in-Furness, Mr Johnson was asked whether he was aware of the reports.

Mr Johnson told reporters: “We never discuss intelligence issues. You wouldn’t expect me to comment on that.”

After being pressed further on the issue of her citizenship, he added: “No comment. We don’t discuss intelligence stuff.”

The Defence Secretary has said he did not “recognise” reports that Shamima Begum had been smuggled into Syria.

Asked by journalists if he was aware of the reports, Ben Wallace said: “I have seen those reports. I don’t comment on intelligence matters but I was the security minister over a large period of that period and I don’t recognise what is being reported.”

Pressed about the issue of her citizenship, Mr Wallace said: “I think that the reality is the grounds for which she lost her citizenship currently remain unaltered from my memory, but it was quite a long time ago and I am not going to comment on this speculation.”