A British-born woman who went to Syria as a schoolgirl to join ISIS extremist group should not be allowed to return to Britain to challenge the government taking away her citizenship because she poses a security risk, the UK’s Supreme Court ruled on Friday.
Shamima Begum left London in 2015 when she was 15 and went to Syria via Turkey with two schoolfriends where she married an ISIS fighter.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Begum, 21, who is being held in a detention camp in Syria, was stripped 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.
Begum, 21, who is being held in a detention camp in Syria, was stripped of her British citizenship in 2019. (AFP)
But the country’s top court overturned that decision, meaning that although she can still pursue her appeal against the decision to take away her citizenship, she cannot do that in Britain.
The British government had argued that the intelligence agencies concluded those who aligned with ISIS posed a serious current risk to national security.
Shamima Begum’s father Ahmed Ali in his village in Bangladesh on March 5, 2019. (AP)
“If a vital public interest — in this case, the safety of the public – makes it impossible for a case to be fairly heard, then the courts cannot ordinarily hear it,” the Supreme Court judges concluded.
In this still taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on Feb. 23, 2015, 15-year-old Amira Abase, left, Kadiza Sultana,16, center, and Shamima Begum, 15, walk through Gatwick airport, south of London, before catching their flight to Turkey on Tuesday Feb 17, 2015. (AP)
Begum’s case has been the subject of a heated debate in Britain, pitting those who say she forsook her right to citizenship by travelling to join ISIS against those who argue she should not be left stateless but rather face trial in Britain.
Turkey criticizes UK over missing schoolgirls
Come home, families beg Syria-bound UK schoolgirls
UK schoolgirl posts snap of ‘ISIS takeaway’ meal