ISIS bride Shamima Begum wins right to return to UK

Cheryl Sanders
July 16, 2020

Ms Begum left Bethnal Green, in east London, aged 15 for Syria in February 2015, with two school friends.

Begum, 20, had her citizenship removed by the British government on security grounds in early 2019, after she was discovered living in a refugee camp in northern Syria by Anthony Lloyd, a war correspondent for The Times of London.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) ruled in February that the decision to revoke her citizenship was lawful because she was "a citizen of Bangladesh by descent" at the time.

Lord Justice Flaux said: "With due respect to SIAC, it is unthinkable that, having concluded that Ms Begum could not take any meaningful part in her appeal so that it could not be fair and effective, she should have to continue with her appeal nonetheless".

Responding to the ruling, the United Kingdom government said it was a "very disappointing decision", insisting that they would appeal and apply for the court's original judgement to be stayed until then.

"Fairness and justice must, on the facts of this case, outweigh the national security concerns".

The judge also found that "the national security concerns about her could be addressed and managed if she returns to the United Kingdom".

The UK's Home Office said the decision was "very disappointing" and would seek to appeal against the ruling. "We will now apply for permission to appeal this judgment, and to stay its effects pending any onward appeal", a spokeswoman said in a statement.

It added: "The government's top priority remains maintaining our national security and keeping the public safe".

Shafiq said ISIS was an "evil entity" opposed by British Muslims and that Begum should be held to account for any alleged crimes, but lawmakers should not make decisions "to appear as if they were tough".

Shamima Begum travelled to Syria to join so-called Islamic State.

Daniel Furner, of Birnberg Peirce Solicitors, said: |Justice can not be defeated, or indefinitely delayed, because a case is hard or because national security is engaged.

"As important as the reiteration of those centuries-old principles was the court's unqualified rejection of the Home Secretary's argument that the impediments to Ms Begum's participation in her appeal were of her own making".

"Fundamental rights are not extinguished because a person is overseas, or because the allegations against them are serious".

Begum travelled with two others to live under Isis rule.

She contested that this decision made her stateless, and that she was unable to effectively challenge the decision against her because she could not return to the UK.

Her newborn baby died soon after she gave birth.

He said the decision had the result of "exposing her to ... the real risk of removal to Bangladesh or Iraq", where Ms Begum faced "extra-judicial killing at the hands of the police" or "a wholly unfair and predetermined "trial" and an immediate sentence of death". Javid stripped her of citizenship soon after on the grounds that she could claim Bangladeshi nationality through her parents.

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