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IS bride Shamima Begum should not be allowed to return to UK, Supreme Court rules

Written by on 26/02/2021

IS bride Shamima Begum should not be allowed to return to the UK to fight a decision to strip her of British citizenship, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The unanimous decision – with all five justices in agreement – comes six years after the then 15-year-old left with friends to join the Islamic State group.

Now aged 21, Begum was one of three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green in east London who travelled to Syria.

Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

FILE - This is a Monday Feb. 23, 2015 file handout image of a three image combo of stills taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, centre and and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey. The Dutch man who married a British teenager after she ran away to join the Islamic State group says he wants to return home to the Netherlands with Shamima Begum and their newborn son. Yago Riedijk tells the B
Image: Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum, and Amira Abase pictured going through Gatwick security in 2015 before heading to Syria Pic: Associated Press file

She had already lost two children and the third died shortly after being born.

Begum challenged the Home Office’s decision to remove her British citizenship and wanted to be allowed to return to the UK to pursue that appeal.

Initially, the Court of Appeal said she should be allowed to return to fight the case.

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However, in November, the Home Office appealed that decision at the Supreme Court, arguing that allowing her to return to the UK “would create significant national security risks” and expose the public to “an increased risk of terrorism”.

Lord Reed said: “The Supreme Court unanimously allows all of the Home Secretary’s appeals and dismisses Ms Begum’s cross-appeal.

“The right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public.”

A different ruling could have had huge significance for the government, which has revoked the citizenship of about 150 British nationals on grounds of national security.

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

She cannot speak to her lawyers or participate in a hearing by video.

Begum spoke to Sky News days after her third baby was born in February 2019, telling correspondent John Sparks “a lot of people should have sympathy” for her as there was no evidence she had done anything dangerous.

Shamima Begum spoke to Sky News in February, days after her third baby was born in February 2019
Image: Shamima Begum spoke exclusively to Sky News days after her third baby was born

But later that year Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed Begum would never be allowed to return to the UK.

She said there was “no way,” adding “our job is to keep our country safe.

Sky’s foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes investigates how IS used the internet to woo recruits in the Into The Grey Zone podcast

 Sky News

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