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‘ISIS bride’ Shamima Begum who travelled to Syria and joined the terror outfit loses appeal against removal of her UK citizenship

The Court of Appeal said that the only question before the court was whether the deprivation decision was unlawful, and the court concluded that it was not

Shamima Begum, who left Britain to join Islamic State, has lost an appeal against the UK government’s decision to remove her British citizenship. The east London schoolgirl travelled to Syria nine years ago in 2015 at the tender age of 15. Soon after she was discovered in a camp for Syrian refugees in February 2019, her citizenship was revoked due to national security concerns.

The 24-year-old lost a challenge at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in February of last year following a string of court fights, but her attorneys appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal in October. One of the appeal judges who decided the matter, Dame Sue Carr, mentioned that they agreed with the commission’s ruling about Shamima Begum’s citizenship and that her appeal was dismissed. The legal squad representing her had filed a complaint with the court to reverse the decision. However on 23rd February, all three of the appeal judges rendered a ruling against her.

Her appeal was dismissed by the panel unanimously, according to Dame Sue Carr, the head of the court of appeals. The justice stated, “It could be argued that the decision in Miss Begum’s case was harsh. It could also be argued that Miss Begum is the author of her misfortune. But it is not for this court to agree or disagree with either point of view. Our only task is to assess whether the deprivation decision was unlawful. We have concluded it was not and the appeal is dismissed.”

Appearing with Lord Justice Bean and Lady Justice Whipple, Baroness Carr declared that any debate over the ramifications of the unanimous ruling which might involve a potential Supreme Court appeal will be postponed for a period of seven days.

Samantha Knights KC asserted to the court during the October appeal hearing that the Government had neglected to take into account the legal obligations owed to Shamima Begum as a possible victim of human trafficking or as a result of “state failures” in her case. However, national security was cited by the Home Office’s Sir James Eadie KC as the “key feature” of the case. “The fact that someone is radicalised, and may have been manipulated, is not inconsistent with the assessment that they pose a national security risk,” he stressed.

Baroness Carr noted, “We are not persuaded that there was any obligation on the Secretary of State to take into account the possibility that there might be a duty to investigate the circumstances of Ms Begum’s trafficking, alternatively, to consider whether any such investigation as might be required would be enhanced by her presence in this country,” in the 42-page public judgment.

She added, “In our judgment, SIAC was entitled to find, as the specialist tribunal established by Parliament, that the issue of whether and to what extent Ms Begum’s travel to Syria had been voluntary was within the expertise of the intelligence agencies advising the Secretary of State. Ms Begum may well have been influenced and manipulated by others but still have made a calculated decision to travel to Syria and align with ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).”

Shamima Begum’s counsel presented five arguments, contending that SIAC erred in dismissing her allegation that former home secretary Sajid Javid faulted in denying her citizenship in 2019. However, the judges invalidated her claims in every instance and highlighted that in cases involving national security, an equality responsibility in the public sector did not apply.

Furthermore, they found that Sajid Javid had taken into account Shamima Begum’s legal team’s argument that she was a victim of child trafficking and that he had the right to rule on whether or not she constituted a threat to the United Kingdom’s national security. The court also ruled that the former minister was not obliged to ponder about whether she would essentially become a stateless person because there was no possibility that she would go back to Bangladesh, the country of her parents’ origin.

Shamima Begum is in a refugee camp in northern Syria. Her legal team is likely to appeal the latest judgement. “As long as she is still there, this doesn’t end,” emphasised one of her lawyers, Gareth Peirce.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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