Saturday 28 March 2015

Travel ban teenage girls from Syria trio's school

Four teenage girls barred from travelling abroad are pupils at the same east London school attended by three girls already thought to have fled to Syria.

All seven teenagers attend Bethnal Green Academy in Tower Hamlets.
The four girls, along with a fifth girl who is home-schooled, have been made wards of court and had their passports removed.
The school was revealed after reporters argued it was in the public interest.

"Right to know"

The judge, Mr Justice Hayden, had made an order saying the five girls could not be identified at the High Court in London.
He made a ruling allowing the school to be named at a follow-up hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.
Journalists argued that parents in Tower Hamlets considering schools for their children had a "right to know" whether the three missing teenagers and the grounded girls went to the same school.
Barrister Christopher Barnes, for Tower Hamlets Council, and barrister Jennifer Carter-Manning, for the Metropolitan Police, argued against naming the school attended by the girls barred from travel.
They said revealing the name would pose a risk of the teenagers' identities being revealed - and said the girls could suffer.
However the point was made that staff and pupils at the academy were already likely to know who the pupils were.
Revealing the name of the school to members of the public outside the school "community" would not create a significant risk of the girls being identified, it was argued.
Mr Justice Hayden ruled in favour of the press.

Islamic State

The five girls - two aged 15 and three aged 16 - were barred from travel after showing an interest in going to Syria.
Mr Justice Hayden made the move to bar travel following an application from Tower Hamlets social services officials.
He was told that social workers had raised concerns that the girls might flee to areas controlled by Islamic State (IS) and he said sometimes the law had to "intervene to protect young people from themselves".
The judge has continued to analyse the girls' cases at further hearings - and has heard evidence from counter-terrorism specialists at the Metropolitan Police.

"More radicalised"

A number of adults involved in their care have also had their passports seized.
There was evidence to suggest family members in the case had not been "full and frank" with social services, the judge said, and that the girls were becoming "more radicalised".
In mid-February police raised concerns following the disappearance of Kadiza Sultana, 16, Shamima Begum, 15, and Amira Abase, 15, from their homes in east London.
Shamima used the passport of her 17-year-old sister to leave the UK, police have said.
The three girls were friends and pupils at Bethnal Green Academy.
A fourth girl from the same school, Sharmeena Begum, 15, from Bethnal Green, left about two months before the three girls.
All four teenagers are thought to be in Raqqa - the Syrian city where IS has its headquarters.

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