Published: Fri, February 26, 2021
Medical | By

Shamima Begum: 'IS bride' can not return to United Kingdom, court rules

Shamima Begum: 'IS bride' can not return to United Kingdom, court rules

UK Supreme Court has ruled British-born woman who went to Syria as a schoolgirl to join Daesh should not be allowed to return to Britain to challenge the government taking away her citizenship because she poses a security risk.

The court ruled that her rights weren't breached when Begum was refused permission to return.

Five judges at the Supreme Court gave a unanimous decision in the case of Shamima Begum, whose legal battles have come to be seen as a test of how Britain treat nationals who joined the jihadists.

Lord Pannick QC, representing Begum, said was unable to put her side of the case properly from al-Roj detention camp where she is held.

Begum, now 21, left her home in east London at the age of 15 to travel to Syria with two of her schoolmates in 2015. Begum was reportedly hoping to return to the United Kingdom with her newborn baby, before her citizenship was revoked in 2018, though her child has since died in the Roj refugee camp in Syria's Al-Hasakeh Governorate, where she lives at present.

The country's top court unanimously overturned that decision, meaning that although she can still pursue her appeal against the citizenship decision, she cannot do that in Britain.

Friday's ruling followed a Home Office decision to appeal against that decision - although supreme court judges were also considering her citizenship case if they decided not to allow her to return to the UK.

The UK government had argued that the intelligence agencies concluded those who aligned with ISIL posed a serious current risk to national security.

Shamima Begum left London for Syria in 2015.

The 2002 legislation allowed British-born nationals as well as naturalised citizens to lose their nationality rights, and successive governments have gradually broadened the scope of the powers so that home secretaries can now deprive anyone of citizenship if they are satisfied that doing so is "conducive to the public good" and would not leave an individual stateless.

Rights groups, which have argued Begum should answer for any crimes in her home country, reacted with dismay to the ruling. "But the stripping of her citizenship without a chance to clear her name is not justice, it is the opposite".

Bangladesh has said it will not allow Begum entry and that she has no rights to the country's citizenship. In February 2018, she was discovered in a Syrian refugee camp.

She can not speak to her lawyers or participate in a hearing by video.

She told The Times in February 2019 that she left Raqqa in January 2017 with her husband, but her children, a one-year-old girl and a three-month-old boy, had both since died.

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