The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on Friday held that Shamima Begum, a British-born woman who went to Syria as a schoolgirl to join the Islamic State, would not be allowed to return to the country to appeal against the revocation of her UK citizenship as she poses a security risk.
With the verdict, Begum has failed in her attempt to re-enter Britain to fight a court case for her British citizenship which was stripped after the UK government found that Begum had left the country to join the ISIS cadre.
The verdict means that the 21-year-old, who is currently held in a detention camp in Syria, will not be able to enter the United Kingdom to fight her case in person and will not have her citizenship restored while she is being detained in Syria.
Lord Reed, the president of the UK Supreme Court said that the judges have decided unanimously to rule in favour of the Home Secretary who had opposed Shamima’s return to the UK. Begum’s British citizenship was revoked by former Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Current Home Secretary Preeti Patel had stood by that decision. Patel has welcomed the UK Supreme Court’s decision.
Begum left London along with her school friends to join the ISIS
Begum had left London in 2015 when she was 15 and went to Syria along with her two school friends to join ISIS. In Syria, she had reportedly married an ISIS fighter. Her UK Citizenship was revoked after a journalist found her in a prison camp in 2019.
Shamima was earlier granted permission to return to the United Kingdom to contest the removal of her citizenship after the court of appeal had agreed that she could only have a fair appeal of that decision if she were allowed back to Britain. However, the British Prime Minister and others in the government strongly objected to her return to the United Kingdom.
Shamima Begum feels no regret in joining the ISIS, justified terror attack in Manchester Arena
Begum wanted to be allowed to return to the UK to pursue her legal challenge in person in a test case about the status of Britons who joined ISIS and also had their citizenship revoked.
Shamima Begum has been trying for some time to return to the United Kingdom. Barely a teenager, Shamima had married an ISIS terrorist named Yago Riedijk in Raqqa and had three children. All three children died of disease and malnutrition. She was found heavily pregnant in a prison camp by a Times journalist after the fall of the ISIS caliphate.
Shamima Begum has said in the past that she does not see why British authorities would consider her a threat and claimed that then Home Secretary Sajid Javid had “no proof” she was a threat “other than that I was in ISIS”. However, she has also said that she does not regret joining ISIS. She has also justified the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.
“Mostly it was a normal life in Raqqa, every now and then bombing and stuff,” she had said in the past. “But when I saw my first severed head in a bin it didn’t faze me at all. It was from a captured fighter seized on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam. I thought only of what he would have done to a Muslim woman if he had the chance.”