British court allows Daesh bride Shamima Begum to return to the UK
LONDON: The ruling has forced the UK government to backtrack on a decision to deny relocation assistance to the former Daesh recruit, as well as allow her to return to British courts to fight a decision to revoke her citizenship, UK media reported on Thursday.
UK judges ruled on Thursday that London schoolgirl Shamima Begum would be allowed to return to the United Kingdom to appeal a decision to strip the ‘ISIS bride’ of her UK citizenship.
“I consider that Ms Begum’s claim for judicial review of the decision of SIAC (Special Immigration Appeals Commission)… succeeds,” Julian Flaux, Court of Appeal judge ruled on Thursday.
Ms Begum’s court victory comes after a lengthy battle to return to the UK after she left in 2015 to join Islamic State along with two other schoolgirls.
Begum, 20, had her citizenship stripped by the UK Home Office under then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid over national security concerns after being found housed at a refugee camp in 2019, according to UK media.
The court ruling added that Begum, 20, had been denied a fair hearing as she could not appeal her case from the al Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria, following similar arguments from her defence at the Court of Appeal last month.
“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,” Daniel Furner, Begum’s solicitor said in a statement.
The news comes after the Daesh recruit told courts that Downing Street’s decision to revoke her citizenship was illegal as it would leave her stateless under international law. Ms Begum could only receive Bangladeshi citizenship via her mother.
This undated photo released by the Metropolitan Police of London, shows Shamima Begum, a young British woman who went to Syria to join the Islamic State group and now wants to return to Britain
The news comes after a SIAC tribunal ruled in February that the UK government’s decision to strip Begum of her citizenship was lawful, stating she had been “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent”.
Ms Begum told Sky News in an interview that she was “just a housewife” after joining Islamic State, where she married Yago Riedijk, a Dutch rebel, and later left Raqqa in January 2017 after losing two children and a third child in 2019.
“When my citizenship got rejected, I felt like my whole world fell apart right in front of me. You know, especially the way I was told. I wasn’t even told by a government official. I had to be told by journalists,” she told ABC News in an interview in February, despite making unapologetic comments about joining the terrorist organisation to the Times last year.