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Shamima Begum Not Allowed To Return To UK To Appeal Citizenship, Supreme Court Rules

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Shamima Begum Not Allowed To Return To UK To Appeal Citizenship, Supreme Court Rules

Shamima Begum will not be allowed to return to the UK to fight her citizenship battle, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Announcing the ruling, Lord Reed confirmed that the case could not be heard fairly and represented a risk to the safety of the public.

He said the court "unanimously allows all of the Home Secretary's appeals and dismisses Ms Begum's cross-appeal".

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


"If a vital public interest makes it impossible for a case to be fairly heard then the courts cannot ordinarily hear it.

"The appropriate response to the problem in the present case is for the deprivation hearing to be stayed - or postponed - until Ms Begum is in a position to play an effective part in it without the safety of the public being compromised.

"That is not a perfect solution, as it is not known how long it may be before that is possible.

"But there is no perfect solution to a dilemma of the present kind."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Ms Begum had been stripped of her British citizenship following the collapse of ISIS, when she was found, nine months pregnant at the time, living in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019

Ms Begum was 15 when she - and two other girls - travelled from London to Syria in 2015.

She is married to Dutch terrorist Yago Riedijk and has lost three young children while living in Baghuz.


Last year, a lower court had ruled that she would be allowed to return to the UK to fight the government's decision to revoke her nationality.

Following the ruling, Sir James Eadie QC told the Supreme Court that the 21-year-old returning to the country 'would create significant national security risks'.

Speaking last year, he said: "If you force the secretary of state to facilitate a return to the UK... the effect is to create potentially very serious national security concerns.

"You can't keep the person out of the jurisdiction - and that is a highly valuable weapon in the armoury of public protection."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

At the end of July, the government launched its appeal against Ms Begum being allowed to return to the UK to fight her legal case.

Speaking at the time, Ms Begum's solicitor Daniel Furner said: "Ms Begum has never had a fair opportunity to give her side of the story. She is not afraid of facing British justice, she welcomes it. But the stripping of her citizenship without a chance to clear her name is not justice, it is the opposite."

Her argument focused on the premise the citizenship of a particular country can only be revoked if the person is entitled to citizenship in another country.


She contested that this decision made her stateless, and that she was unable to effectively challenge the decision against her because she could not return to the UK.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: terrorism, ISIS, Politics, court

Dominic Smithers
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