Shamima Begum says she joined IS in search of perfect family

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Shamima Begum said she joined the Islamic State group (IS) in search of the perfect family life, and it was in Raqqa, shortly after she arrived in Syria four years ago, that it arranged a marriage between her and Dutch armed extremist Yago Riedijk.

She was 15 at the time and he was 23. In the UK, he would be guilty of statutory rape.

Riedijk, 27, is being held in a Kurdish detention centre in North-eastern Syria.

He faces a six-year jail term for joining a terror organisation if he returns to the Netherlands.

She said: “My family wouldn’t help me get married in the UK and the way they showed family life in IS was pretty nice.

“Like the perfect family life, saying they’d take care of you and take care of your family. And that was true.

“They did take care of me and my family at first but things changed after that.”

She claimed that her husband “wasn’t really a fighter”, but he went to fight for IS in Kobane and was injured.

He fought again in Aleppo.

However, her husband wants them to return to the Netherlands, with their newborn baby son.

“I would love to go back to my own country,” he said, “which I now understand the privileges that I lived with. The privilege of living there as a citizen.

“And, of course, I understand that many people have a problem with what I did and I totally understand that.

“I have to take responsibility for what I did, serve my sentence. But I hope to be able to return to a normal life and to raise a family.”

Begum is in a woman’s internment camp not very far away from her imprisoned husband.

Kurdish officials say there are no plans for them to be reunited.

In an interview with the BBC’s Middle East correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, Mr Riedijk said he rejected IS and had tried to leave the group.

He said that he was imprisoned in Raqqa and tortured after the extremists accused him of being a Dutch spy.

Describing life under IS control, Mr Riedijk also said he attended the stoning of a woman for “fornication”, saw piles of dead bodies in the city and lost an infant daughter to malnutrition.

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