Yago Riedijk, 27, says Shamima Begum was the ‘perfect’ wife’, after marrying her when she was 15
The husband of British ISIS bride Shamima Begum has praised his wife, who he married at 15, describing her as ‘young and innocent’ and ‘very easy to love’.
Dutch terrorist Yago Riedijk, 27, who is currently languishing in a Kurdish jail, said that former Bethnal Green schoolgirl Begum, now 19, was ‘the perfect wife’.
He also shared his heartbreak at the death of his son Jerah, who died from a lung infection in early March at just three weeks old.
Jerah was the ISIS fighter’s third child with Begum, with all three having died prematurely.
The baby died after UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid refused to allow Begum into the country and revoked her citizenship.
Riedijk shared his sorrow at the death, before saying that his wife would be ‘heartbroken and alone’.
He added that he found out about Jerah’s death when he was told by a journalist, a few days after it happened.
He is being held in a Kurdish detention centre in north-eastern Syria and faces six years behind bars if he returns home.
The ISIS fighter spoke about his love for his wife in an interview with The Times.
He said: ‘We got very close very quickly. The perfect wife. She was so young and innocent. It was very easy for me to love her.’
He married Begum just 10 days after meeting her in IS territory and has also come out and defended the decision to do so despite her being just 15 at the time, and him 23.
Riedijk also dismissed claims that his wife had a deeper role in the organisation, saying that she was ‘just a housewife’.
Shortly after their wedding, he was arrested and jailed by ISIS in Raqqa for seven months.
Jailed on spying charges, he was tortured and interrogated during his incarceration, with his wife claiming that it triggered her loss of faith in the Islamic caliphate.
The baby son of runaway Islamic State schoolgirl Shamima Begum died in northern Syria in early March after a lung infection
Mr Riedijk is being held in a Kurdish detention centre and has revealed how he found out about his son’s death
In his interview, Riedjik, who’s from Arnhem in the Netherlands originally, claims that he and his wife were naive victims of ISIS and repeatedly calls for forgiveness for both.
Riedjik, whose ISIS alias was Abu Sarayah, added that he and his wife had loved their children ‘so much’ and that their deaths had a huge impact on Begum.
Begum, 19, gave birth to third child Jerah in a refugee camp last month, having lost her other two children to illness and malnutrition.
They too had suffered breathing problems.
Riedjik had previously been following the headlines about his wife on a TV in his cell, which he shares with 20 other ISIS prisoners.
Begum is pictured holding her son Jerah, named after a 7th century Islamic warlord, in the Al-Hol refugee camp where he was born
He travelled to Syria to join ISIS in October 2014, after converting to Islam when he fell in love with a Muslim girl at his school when he was a teenager.
Local media in Arnhem said he was raised in a ‘lovely’ middle class family before converting to Islam and leaving for Syria in October 2014 to join ISIS.
Riedijk claims that he immediately started doubting whether he had made the right decision, before being wounded by an airstrike.
It was as he was recovering from these injuries that he met 15-year-old Begum, introduced by a mutual friend.
Facebook picture of Dutch ISIS fighter Yago Riedijk pictured with his mother Ankie Winkelman
Facebook picture believed to be of Dutch ISIS fighter Yago Riedijk, now 27 and in a Kurdish jail
They married but he was soon arrested under suspicion of working for Dutch intelligence.
He said he was tortured and sentenced to death before eventually being released.
After this, he says, he and his wife both began to doubt the truth of ISIS.
He claimed he never fought as a soldier for the group again, instead working as a guard and medic.
After his incarceration, he eventually joined an Arab ISIS unit, though he insisted he didn’t do any fighting.
Riedijk previously said that he now realises he and his wife both ‘definitely’ made a ‘mistake’ in joining the barbaric terror group.
He had previously been accused by the Dutch media of having a connection with a failed Isis plot to target an Arnhem stadium, which he denied.