WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 20 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Shamima Begum loses appeal against removal of UK citizenship

Shamima Begum loses appeal against removal of UK citizenship

Shamima Begum: Stripped of her UK citizenship (Credit: BBC)

Shamima Begum, who travelled to Syria at the age of 15 to join the Islamic State, has lost her appeal against the decision to revoke her British citizenship. 

As a result of an unanimous decision by the Court of Appeal, Begum remains trapped in a refugee camp in northern Syria.

After travelling to Syria, Begum married a Dutch ISIS fighter and had three children with him, who all died. Begum was alleged to have recruited other women for ISIS, and so her citizenship was revoked under national security grounds. In February 2023, Begum lost her bid against the decision at the special immigration appeals commission.

Samantha Knight KC, representing Begum, argued that the government neglected legal duties owed to a potential trafficking victim, and that the UK failed to conduct a ‘full and elective investigation’ into how she was trafficked.

Shhighlighted that Begum’s trafficking was a mandatory, relevant consideration of the Home Office for determining  whether it was conducive to the public good and proportionate to remove her citizenship, and therefore the deprivation was unlawful.

In response, Sir James Eadie KC, the representative for the Home Office, said that the ‘key feature’ of Begum’s case was instead national security. He stated, ‘the fact that someone is radicalized, and may have been manipulated, is not inconsistent with the assessment that they pose a national security risk.’

Ms Begum’s legal team is likely to appeal the ruling, with arguments over the impacts of the judgement adjourned for seven days. ‘As long as she is still there, this doesn’t end’, said Gareth Peirce, one of Begum’s lawyers.

Peiirce, together with colleague Daniel Furner, issued a statement outlining  the ‘core factual history’. ‘As a 15 year old British child, she was in 2014/15 lured, encouraged and deceived for the purposes of sexual exploitation to leave home and travel to ISIL-controlled territory for the known intention of being given as a child to an ISIL fighter to propagate children for the Islamic State.’

‘The UK stands virtually alone in refusing to make this request. Shamima together with other British women and children or by now in an entirely different position from women and children in Germany, the US, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Russia, Indonesia, Canada and Australia, all of whom have successfully and safely repatriated their citizens.’