UK Supreme Court to rule on return of 'IS bride' Shamima Begum

Carla Harmon
February 26, 2021

Today (February 26), the UK's Supreme Court ruled that Ms Begum - now 21-years-old - should not be granted leave to enter the United Kingdom to pursue her appeal against the deprivation of her British citizenship.

The UK Supreme Court ruled on Friday that she should not be allowed to return to the country to pursue her case.

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

The then-UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped Begum of her British citizenship, arguing that she was entitled to Bangladeshi citizen due to her parents having been born there.

Credit PA

Announcing the decision, Lord Reed said: "The Supreme Court unanimously allows all of the Home Secretary's appeals and dismisses Ms Begum's cross-appeal".

Ms Begum was 15 when she - and two other girls - travelled from London to Syria in 2015. In 2019 the Home Secretary stripped her of her citizenship, a decision her lawyers have sought to challenge.

'That is not a flawless solution, as it is not known how long it may be before that is possible, ' the head of the Supreme Court, judge Robert Reed, said in a written judgment.

"There is no ideal solution to a dilemma of the present kind", Reed added.

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.

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.

Lord Robert Reed, the president of the UK Supreme Court, said that its judges had unanimously chose to rule in favour of the home secretary and against Begum on all counts before it.

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

Sir James argued that individuals who went to Syria to join IS pose a "real and serious" risk to national security "whatever sympathy might be generated by the age of the person when they travelled". The court ruled that her rights weren't breached when Begum was refused permission to return.

Ms Begum, and Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, then 16 and 15 respectively, boarded a flight from Gatwick Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, on February 17 2015, before making their way to Raqqa in Syria.

Begum claims she married a Dutch convert soon after arriving in ISIS-held territory.

She had already lost two children and the third died shortly after being born. She was discovered, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

Other reports by iNewsToday