The Shamima Begum ruling is a victory for common sense

Pablo Tucker
February 26, 2021

Shamima Begum will not be allowed to return to the United Kingdom to fight her citizenship battle, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Any decision to allow Shamima Begum to return to fight an appeal against her loss of citizenship could give them and dozens of other former IS members a similar avenue of return to the UK. Begum was 15 when she ran away to Syria with two friends; she's now being held in a detention camp in northern Syria.

The 21-year-old was one of three east London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join Islamic State in February 2015.

Britain revoked her citizenship in 2019 on national security grounds amid an outcry led by right-wing newspapers.

Supreme Court judges "unanimously" sided with the government and ruled that while Begum could still appeal the decision to take away her citizenship, she could not do so in Britain.

Britain's Supreme Court rejected Shamima Begum's bid to return to the UK.

Begum spoke to Sky News days after her third baby was born in February 2019, telling correspondent John Sparks "a lot of people should have sympathy" for her as there was no evidence she had done anything unsafe.

The year before, a court backed President Donald Trump's claim that one US -born woman was not a citizen, even though she held a USA passport, because of her father's diplomatic status in the United States at her time of birth.

A government lawyer told the Supreme Court in November her return would create "an increased risk of terrorism".

According to Judge Reed, the right to a fair hearing did not in this case trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public.

"That is not a ideal solution, as it is not known how long it may be before that is possible", the court stated.

Shamima Begum left London for Syria in 2015. "But there is no ideal solution to a dilemma of the present kind", the judges said.

Speaking previous year, he said: "If you force the secretary of state to facilitate a return to the United Kingdom. the effect is to create potentially very serious national security concerns".

Begum is of Bangladeshi heritage but the country's foreign minister has said he will not consider granting her citizenship.

The Court of Appeal had been in error because it had chose to make "its own assessment of the requirements of national security" and to prefer that to the judgment of the Home Secretary, he said.

Begum's lawyers argued that she could not properly defend herself stranded in detention in Syria, where she could not properly correspond with her legal team.

Friday's judgment was criticised by human rights organisations, with Liberty describing it as a "threat to the rule of law".

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

Shamima Begum (left) pictured holding her baby son. She was discovered, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

She had already lost two children and the third died shortly after being born.

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