IS bride stuck in Syrian refugee camp loses her appeal over the removal of her UK citizenship

A woman who traveled to Syria as a teenager to join Islamic State has lost her appeal against the British government’s decision to revoke her British citizenship.

LONDON — A woman who traveled to Syria as a teenager to join Islamic State lost her appeal Friday against the British government’s decision to revoke her British citizenship. Judges said it was not up to them to decide whether this was the case. hard” to do this.

Shamima Begum, now 24, was 15 when she and two other girls fled London in February 2015 to marry IS fighters in Syria, at a time when the group’s online recruitment program was luring many impressionable young people to its self-proclaimed caliphate . Begum married a Dutch man who fought for IS and had three children, all of whom died.

Authorities revoked her British citizenship shortly after she turned up at a Syrian refugee camp in 2019, where she has remained since. Last year, Begum lost her appeal against the decision to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a tribunal that hears challenges to decisions to revoke British citizenship on national security grounds.

Her lawyers filed another attempt to overturn that decision in the Court of Appeal, which was opposed by the Home Office.

All three judges dismissed her case, arguing that she had made a “calculated” decision to join IS even though she may have been “influenced and manipulated by others.”

In handing down the ruling, Chief Justice Sue Carr said it was not the court’s role to decide whether the decision to strip Begum of her British citizenship was “harsh” or whether she was the “author of her own misfortune”.

She said the court’s sole role was to determine whether the decision to strip Begum of her citizenship was unlawful.

“As this was not the case, Ms Begum’s appeal is dismissed,” the judge added.

Carr said all arguments on the implications of the unanimous ruling, including an attempt to appeal to the UK Supreme Court, would be adjourned for seven days.

Begum’s lawyer indicated that another challenge was coming.

“I think the only thing we can say with certainty is that we will keep fighting,” Daniel Furner said outside the Royal Courts of Justice.

“I want to say to Shamima and her family that I am sorry that after five years of fighting she has still not received justice in a British court, and I want to promise her and the government that we will not stop fighting until she gets justice and until she reaches home safely,” he added.

Begum’s legal team argued that the decision by then British Home Secretary Sajid Javid left her stateless and that she should have been treated as a victim of child trafficking and not a security risk.

Javid said he welcomed the ruling which “confirmed” his decision.

“This is a complex matter, but Home Secretary must have the power to prevent anyone who is believed to be a threat to the country from entering our country,” he said.

The British Conservative government claimed it could apply for a Bangladeshi passport based on family ties. But Begum’s family argued that she was from Britain and never held a Bangladeshi passport.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the government “will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security and we will never take decisions around deprivation (of citizenship) lightly.”

A number of activists expressed disappointment after the ruling, saying the solution rests with the government.

“It is now a political problem, and the government holds the key to solving it,” said Maya Foa, director of the Reprieve Human Right campaign group. “If the government believes Shamima Begum has committed a crime, she should be prosecuted in a British court. Stripping citizenship is not the solution.”

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