UK top court rules Shamima Begum cannot return

5 months ago 32
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The 21-year-old, who joined ISIL as a child, is being held in a detention camp in Syria after being stripped of her UK citizenship in 2019.

The United Kingdom’s highest court on Friday ruled Shamima Begum, a woman who was stripped of her citizenship after fleeing to Syria to join ISIL (ISIS), should not be allowed to return to the country to challenge the decision because she poses a security risk.

Begum left London in 2015 when she was 15 and went to Syria via Turkey with two friends.

Now 21, she is currently being held in a detention camp in Syria after being stripped of her British citizenship in 2019 by then Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

The UK’s Court of Appeal previously agreed she could only have a fair appeal of that decision if she were allowed back into the country.

But the UK’s Supreme Court overturned that decision in its unanimous ruling 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.

The UK government had argued that the intelligence agencies concluded those who aligned with ISIL posed a serious current risk to national security.

“If a vital public interest – in this case, the safety of the public – makes it impossible for a case to be fairly heard, then the courts cannot ordinarily hear it,” the Supreme Court judges concluded.

In Syria, Begum married an ISIL fighter and lived in Raqqa, the capital of the self-declared caliphate. She has had three children since leaving the UK, but all the infants have since died.

Her case has been the subject of a heated debate in the UK, pitting those who say she forsook her right to citizenship by travelling to join ISIL against those who argue she should not be left stateless but rather face trial in the country she left for Syria.

This is a breaking news story. More details to follow…



Al Jazeera and News agencies

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