Home World News British ‘ISIS bride’ suspect Natalie Bracht back in UK and claiming Universal...

British ‘ISIS bride’ suspect Natalie Bracht back in UK and claiming Universal Credit

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A British mum of nine who was accused of becoming a jihadi bride is back in the UK enjoying a benefits-funded summer on a canal boat.

Natalie Bracht denies she once led an all-female Islamic State unit in Syria and says she is resigned to being forever treated as a terror suspect “without conviction”.

Bracht, 45, who has claimed ­Universal Credit, says she hopes to make a living as a busker.

She had been staying in ­Germany, where she holds dual nationality by birth. After Covid-19 took hold, she was ­repatriated and put up in a £44-a-night Travelodge. She has now moved on to a barge.

The revelation comes just weeks after the row over a legal ­battle by Shamima Begum, 20,  to regain her ­British citizenship after fleeing to the Middle East to join Isis in 2015.



Bracht in UK with her kids in 2008

Bracht told our sister paper the Sunday People that reports two years ago saying she had joined Isis in Syria were untrue. 

But she admitted she had been involved with the controversial ­campaign group Cage – which once called Brit Isis executioner Jihadi John a “beautiful young man”.

Two years ago, it was said Bracht had travelled in 2014 to Syria, where she wed Celso Rodrigues Da Costa, 31, an Isis fighter from ­London.

It was also claimed she was among a group of Western women held in Kurdish-controlled camps in northern Syria. 

Bracht said: “It has affected my family. I’ve been treated like a ­terror suspect. It looks like I have to have a new identity and the ­stories must be put straight. 

“It’s not for me. I can live with this. I have accepted I am a ­full- terror suspect without conviction. It either breaks you or makes you stronger. In my case, it has made me stronger.”

Born in Bielefeld, Germany, on a British Army camp, Bracht was living in Heidelberg when the ­pandemic hit. After visiting the British ­consulate in Dusseldorf, she was given a ticket to fly from Frankfurt to London on April 3.



Shamima Begum

But when she landed, she says she was stopped and ­“interrogated” by Special Branch for more than three hours under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Bracht added: “They were asking me about what I thought about Brexit, how I think about elections, what I think about vaccines.

“They asked me where I had stayed in Syria. I had to tell them a couple of times, ‘Guys, I wasn’t in Syria.’”

She claims she is being ­supported by Helping Households Under Great Stress – set up to help ­“Muslim households impacted by counter-terrorism, national ­security and extremism-related laws, policies and procedures”. 

And she said that in about 2012, she began volunteering as an ­interpreter for Cage. She said she began translating letters for ­terror suspects held in prisons across the world because she had concerns about rising Islamophobia.

And she said she was given access to documents relating to Anwar ­al-Awlaki, a radical US ­Muslim cleric of Yemeni descent.

Before he was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen on  September 30, 2011, al-Awlaki was linked to a series of attacks and plots across the world, including the 9/11 ­atrocity in the US.



Jihadi John

Bracht said: “It’s a modern witch-hunt. These are the oppressed ­people. They are in prison, then they are free again and then they are not ­convicted but treated for the rest of their lives as full- terror suspects. They never had ­convictions.”

She also said she sympathised with terror bride Begum. Bracht said: “This girl was ­brainwashed on the ­internet, the intelligence services didn’t prevent her from leaving the country. 

“She was only 15 years old – this should be dealt with by child ­protection.”

Bracht first hit the headlines in 2008, when she ran away from home in Sunderland with her then five daughters, fearing they were about to be taken into care. ­

Authorities released an appeal ­stating Bracht had a ­personality disorder and saying the police had “serious ­concerns regarding the children’s welfare”.

In 2018 ,Oban-born John Brown – an ex-Army paratrooper –begged for his daughter Bracht to be given a second chance after it was alleged she travelled to Syria.He said at the : “We have ­forgiven her. The door is always open.”

Bracht this week denied that Brown was her dad – claiming instead that he was her stepfather.

She was found 12 months later in Munich. Tasnime Akunjee, Bracht’s legal ­representative who also represents Begum, said he was ­looking at a possible defamation claim against a US firm that is said to have ­published her name as a terror suspect. Yesterday, Cage said it had no ­record of Bracht ­volunteering.

The Home Office said: “We do not ­comment on ­individual cases.”