Saturday, February 27, 2021

ISIS bride, Shamima Begum cannot return to the UK, Supreme Court rules

Shamima Begum, who left the UK for Syria to join the Islamic State group as a teenager, will not be allowed to return and fight her citizenship case, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The court said in a unanimous ruling that her rights were not breached when she was refused permission to return.

Ms Begum, 21, wants to come back to challenge the home secretary's decision to remove her British nationality.

She is currently in a camp controlled by armed guards in northern Syria.

Ms Begum was 15 when she and two other east London schoolgirls left the UK in February 2015 and travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State group.

In 2019, the then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped Ms Begum of her citizenship on national security grounds.

Last July, the Court of Appeal ruled that the only fair way forward was to allow her into the UK because she could not effectively appeal against the decision from the camp in northern Syria.

The Home Office subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court to reconsider the Court of Appeal's judgement, arguing that allowing her to return to the UK "would create significant national security risks".

On Friday, Lord Reed, president of the Supreme Court, said the government had been entitled to prevent Ms Begum from returning to the UK.

Announcing the ruling, Lord Reed said: "The Supreme Court unanimously allows all of the home secretary's appeals and dismisses Ms Begum's cross-appeal."

He said the Court of Appeal's judgment "did not give the home secretary's assessment the respect which it should have received" given the role's "responsibility for making such assessments" and accountability to parliament.

Lord Reed added the Court of Appeal had "mistakenly believed that, when an individual's right to have a fair hearing... came into conflict with the requirements of national security, her right to a fair hearing must prevail."

He said the right to a fair hearing did "not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public".


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