SHAMIMA Begum’s Dutch husband insists it was HER “own choice” to marry him when she was just 15 years old.
Islamic Sate fighter Yago Riedijk – currently held in a Kurdish-run detention centre in northern Syria – also told the BBC he wants his ISIS bride and their newborn son to live as a family in the Netherlands.
His wife, who is now aged 19 and has had three children – two of whom have died in Syria – is reportedly living in a refugee camp near the Iraqi border.
Begum was only 15 when she ran away from her home in east London to join the terror group in 2015.
They married before she had turned 16 and Riedijk was 23 years old.
The pair are said to have fled Baghouz, the group’s last foothold in eastern Syria, as its territory collapsed in recent months, reports the Press Association.
Riedijk, now aged 27, and who is said to have rejected ISIS, was found in the detention centre by the BBC.
He said the pair married days after the teenager arrived inside the terror group’s territory from Britain.
Although Yago Riedijk admitted to fighting for ISIS, he told the broadcaster he is keen to return home to the Netherlands with Begum and their baby son.
Reporter Quentin Somerville asked him: “You were married to her when she was 15 years old; how in any way is that acceptable? You were, what, 23?”
He replied: “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.”
Although Riedijk admitted to fighting for ISIS, he told the BBC he is keen to return home to the Netherlands – which he abandoned in 2014 to join the terror group – with Begum and their baby son.
Riedijk, from Arnhem, also said that he had been imprisoned in Raqqa, and tortured after the extremists accused him of being a Dutch spy.
The BBC reports that while he is on a terrorism watch list, his Dutch citizenship has not been revoked.
Begum, who said she wants to return to the UK, has been stripped of her British citizenship.
However, she says she should be allowed back to Britain, because her newborn son Jerah is sick, and she won’t leave without him, claiming she is “willing to change” her ways while pleading for “mercy” from Britain.
Immigration lawyers have said that Begum could use her son’s nationality to accompany him back to Britain.