UK's top court rules schoolgirl who joined ISIL, Shamima Begum, can't return

Rodiano Bonacci
Febbraio 26, 2021

Britain's highest court on Friday rejected a bid by a woman who was stripped of her United Kingdom citizenship for joining the Islamic State group to return to challenge the decision.

Shamima Begum (left) pictured holding her baby son.

Begum's lawyers appealed, saying her right to a fair hearing was harmed by the obstacles of pursuing her case from the camp.

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.

Begum was 15 years old in 2015 when she joined two other schoolgirls and left Britain en route to Syria to join the Islamic State group.

Begum, 21, who is being held in a detention camp in Syria, was stripped her of her British citizenship in 2019 but the Court of Appeal previously agreed she could only have a fair appeal of that decision if she were allowed back to Britain.

The human rights group Liberty said the court's ruling sets "an extremely risky precedent".

Friday's unanimous Supreme Court ruling overturned a decision by the Court of Appeal a year ago, which had held that she must be allowed to return so that she can have a fair appeal against the citizenship decision.

For instance, the Supreme Court stated in a summary of its judgment, "the Court of Appeal mistakenly believed that, when an individual's right to have a fair hearing of an appeal came into conflict with the requirements of national security, her right to a fair hearing must prevail".

The government said she would not be stateless, as Begum's family has roots in Bangladesh, although the Bangladeshi government said she was not eligible for citizenship.

She was discovered, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

Less than two weeks after her arrival, Begum married a Dutch-born IS fighter named Yago Riedijk.

Bergum has given birth to three children since leaving England, all of whom have sice died due to illness and the poor conditions in war-torn Syria.

The government's use of the powers has surged to unprecedented levels in response to the perceived threat posed by British nationals returning from Syria.

The ruling will make it harder for those stripped of British citizenship on national security grounds - some 150 people, many of them former ISIL members - to make their case in court.

The Supreme Court rejected the Court of Appeal's decision.

"That is not a flawless solution, as it is not known how long it may be before that is possible. But there is no ideal solution to a dilemma like this", they added.

"Thousands of people are exposed to violence, exploitation, abuse and deprivation in conditions and treatment that may well constitute torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment under global law, without recourse. staff at their disposal, "the organization said, asking countries to repatriate their citizens". He told the court she would be at risk of physical harm if she spoke by mobile phone to her British lawyers.

Begum's high-profile flight with her friends from Britain to Syria via Turkey in 2015 was followed by an global search.

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