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Shamima Begum's Return To The UK Would Be A 'Security Risk', Supreme Court Told

Shamima Begum's Return To The UK Would Be A 'Security Risk', Supreme Court Told

Shamima Begum's return to the UK would represent a 'security risk', a government barrister has told the Supreme Court.

Sir James Eadie QC told the court that the 21-year-old returning to the country 'would create significant national security risks'.

It comes after a lower court ruled she would be able to leave the refugee camp in Syria and return to the UK to challenge her loss of citizenship.

It's claimed by the UK government that the country's intelligence services could not guarantee it would be able to deal with her presence as well as other demands on its resources.

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Sir James 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."

Sir James Eadie QC says Shamima Begum's return would pose a security risk to the UK. Credit: PA
Sir James Eadie QC says Shamima Begum's return would pose a security risk to the UK. Credit: PA

And in a written statement submitted to the court, Sir James added: "Can it be right that a person who has involved themselves in terrorism, and is now abroad and subject to restrictions that affect their ability to participate in proceedings, is able to rely on those self-created impediments to insist on return to the jurisdiction to enable them to participate now in such proceedings?"

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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."

Ms Begum's argument focuses 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.

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Following the previous decision to allow her back into the country, a Home Office spokesperson said: "This is a very disappointing decision by the Court. We will now apply for permission to appeal this judgement, and to stay its effects pending any onward appeal.

Ms Begum is appealing the decision to have her citizenship revoked. Credit: PA
Ms Begum is appealing the decision to have her citizenship revoked. Credit: PA
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"The government's top priority remains maintaining our national security and keeping the public safe."

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

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

She has spoken about the death of son Jarrah, who passed away in 2019.

Speaking to The Times last year, she said: "Since I left Baghuz I really regretted everything I did, and I feel like I want to go back to the UK for a second chance to start my life over again.

"I was brainwashed. I came here believing everything that I had been told, while knowing little about the truths of my religion."

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She admitted to becoming 'radicalised online' after feeling 'slightly depressed' and 'looking for a purpose'. She went on to say that she was 'easy to manipulate' at the time, because of an ongoing 'disconnect' with her family.

Topics: crime

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Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]