Thursday 10/28/21
TERRORISM

Woman who joined IS as teenager loses bid to return to Britain

Sajid Javid, Interior Minister at the time, however decided to strip her of her British citizenship for security reasons.
An undated file photo of Shamima Begum, who left London as a schoolgirl to join the Islamic State militia. Photo:PA Wire/dpa.
An undated file photo of Shamima Begum, who left London as a schoolgirl to join the Islamic State militia. Photo:PA Wire/dpa.

A British woman who left London as a schoolgirl to join the Islamic State militia should not be allowed to return to Britain to contest the government's decision to revoke her citizenship, the country's Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

In its landmark ruling, the court also ruled out a direct request to reinstate her citizenship.

Shamima Begum, who was born in Britain, left London in 2015 at the age of 15 with two teenaged friends to join the terrorist group in the Syrian city of Raqqa and married an Islamic State fighter.

FILED - 26 February 2021, United Kingdom, London: An undated file photo of Shamima Begum, the British woman who left London as a schoolgirl to join the Islamic State militia. Begum should not be allowed to return to Britain to contest the government's decision to revoke her citizenship, the country's Supreme Court ruled on Friday. Photo: -/PA Wire/dpa

In 2019, Begum was pregnant and in the Al Hol refugee camp in north-eastern Syria, from where she asked to be allowed to return to Britain, arguing that the move would save her baby's life. She said she had given birth to two other children who had already died.

Sajid Javid, Interior Minister at the time, however decided to strip her of her British citizenship for security reasons, arguing she would not be stateless because she could claim Bangladeshi citizenship, the country where her parents were born.

Controversy

The case raised controversy in Britain, especially after it became known that Begum's third child also died.

According to Begum's lawyers, she had no possibility of appealing the government's decision from the refugee camp, where she did not have access to a phone.

The government however argued her return constituted a public threat, and this danger outweighed her claim to appealing the revocation of her citizenship.

The Supreme Court has now upheld this argument.

*Photo included in this article by PA Wire/dpa.

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