UK Supreme court rejects Shamima's legal bid to return

Grant Boone
February 26, 2021

IS bride Shamima Begum should not be allowed to return to the United Kingdom to fight a decision to strip her of British citizenship, the Supreme Court has ruled.

But the country's top court overturned that decision on Friday, meaning that although she can still pursue her appeal against the decision to take away her citizenship, she cannot do that in Britain.

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 countries treat nationals who joined the jihadists.

The young woman is now detained in a camp for ISIS members run by the Kurds in Syria, where her husband is imprisoned and her three children have died.

The decision comes six years after the then 15-year-old left with friends to join the Islamic State group.

The government stripped the Londoner of her citizenship, citing security grounds, after she was found in a detention camp for suspected IS members and their families in Syria by a journalist from the Times newspaper.

The UK Court of Appeal previous year ruled that Begum should be granted leave to enter the UK for her appeal because otherwise it would not be "a fair and effective hearing".

A two-day hearing in the case in November heard that Begum was still considered by MI5 as a national security risk because although she had travelled out as a minor, she had "aligned" with the terror group.

Shamima Begum was one of three students who fled London and went to Syria in February 2015.

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The UK withdrew his passport in 2019 on the basis of national security, and he is eligible for other citizenship as he is of Bangladeshi descent.

She claims to have married a Dutch convert soon after arriving in IS-held territory.

Britain's highest court also concluded that the court of appeal had mistakenly believed that "when an individual's right to have a fair hearing of an appeal came into conflict with the requirements of national security, her right to a fair hearing must prevail".

In 2019 the Home Secretary stripped her of her citizenship, a decision her lawyers have sought to challenge.

As a teenager, Begum was married to an Isis fighter while she was embroiled in the Syrian conflict and had three children, all of whom have since died.

Bangladesh has said it will not allow Begum entry and that she has no rights to the country's citizenship.

Her two other children also died in infancy under Daesh rule.

'Stripping someone's citizenship without due process sets a unsafe precedent, ' rights organisation Liberty said. In February 2018, she was discovered in a Syrian refugee camp.

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