LONDON: The Dutch husband of Shamima Begum, the British-born teenager who ran away to join Daesh in Syria in 2015, has said he wants her to return to the Netherlands with him.
Yago Riedijk and Begum married days after she arrived inside Daesh-held territory aged 15.
Riedijk, 27, is being held in a Kurdish detention center in north-eastern Syria. He faces a six-year jail term for joining a terror organization if he returns to the Netherlands.
In an interview with the BBC, Riedijk admitted fighting for the group but says he now wants to return home with his wife and their newborn son.
Riedijk said he rejected Daesh and had tried to leave the group, according to the BBC. He added that he was imprisoned in Raqqa and tortured after the extremists accused him of being a Dutch spy.
Begum, now aged 19, and Riedijk escaped from the town of Baghouz, the last Daesh-held area in eastern Syria, as the terror group’s territory collapsed.
Her husband surrendered to a group of Syrian fighters, and Begum and their newborn son Jerah ended up among 39,000 people at the Al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria.
Begum was moved to another camp nearer the Iraqi border after receiving death threats.
She had earlier said that she wanted to return to Britain but her British citizenship was revoked on security grounds.
When asked if he thought marrying a 15-year-old girl was acceptable, Riedijk told the BBC: “To be honest, when my friend came and said there was a girl who was interested in marriage, I wasn’t that interested because of her age, but I accepted the offer anyway.
“We sat down and she seemed in a good state of mind. It was her own choice; she was the one who asked to look for a partner for her.
“Then I was invited and, yeah, she was very young and it might have been better for her to wait a bit, but she didn’t — she chose to get married and I chose to marry her.”