'If people want a second chance, they should be able to have it,' Tareena Shakil tells ITV News reporter Amani Ibrahimi
Tareena Shakil, who was sentenced to six years behind bars after leaving the UK to live in the Islamic State, says if women like her are genuine about wanting to turn their back on the terror group "they should be given the chance."
In 2014, Tareena, from Burton, was 24 when she booked a holiday to Turkey with her child and decided to cross the border into Syria.
A year later, Shamima Begum, who was 15 at the time, also fled alongside her school friends to join the Islamic State.
Since being stripped of her British citizenship, Begum recently appealed to be allowed back home but a UK court upheld her ban from ever returning. She currently remains in a camp in Syria.
Tareena sat down with me to tell me her remarkable story and says since returning, she’s been deradicalised and has "thrived".
I asked her whether she believes Begum, and other Brits still in Syria, should be given the same treatment.
"If it is genuinely the case that she made a mistake, she wanted to turn her back on that, she really just wants to come home, change her life, change her ways - not even just her, anybody - I would like to think that the chance is there for people to be able to do so," she said.
"Yes, it is a very big mistake that people like myself and her and all the women chose to do.
"It's a massive mistake but it's a mistake nevertheless and I genuinely feel if people want a second chance, then then they should be able to have it.
"I believe in redemption. I believe in rehabilitation, whatever the crime, whatever the mistake, I believe in that and I think that I'm proof that it can happen.
"A person can be rehabilitated, a person can get on with their life, a person can reintegrate themselves back into society."
Tareena managed to escape from the Islamic State and make her way back to Turkey. She was then returned to the UK where she was sentenced to six years in prison. She served three years in jail before being released on license.
During her trial, the court was shown selfies she’d taken on her phone while in Syria - showing her posing with guns.
When I asked her about those images, she said it was something she was expected to do.
"That was a part of the life there," she explained. "You’re living with a bunch of fanatics.
"All of the women wanted to take a picture with it. I often found myself going along with the norm of the house."
Since she’s had her freedom back, she says she’s been through a process and done everything asked of her to earn back her life.
Tareena has also recently started an organisation called Help For Hope, where she plans to support others who have been through a similar experience.
ITV’s Global Security Editor, Rohit Kachroo, revisits the headlines surrounding Shamima Begum in a special podcast to ask ultimately, who is to blame?