Ex-IS bride loses appeal to have her U.K. citizenship restored

London –

A British woman whose British citizenship was revoked after traveling to Syria to join the Islamic State has lost her appeal in the fight to restore her citizenship.

Shamima Begum, now 23, was 15 when she and two other London girls joined a militant group in February 2015. Authorities revoked her British citizenship on national security grounds shortly after she surfaced in a Syrian refugee camp in 2019.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission, the tribunal that hears appeals against decisions to strip someone of their British citizenship for national security reasons, said Begum was trafficked to Syria for “sexual exploitation”. It ruled that there was “certain suspicion”. She said there was also a “controversial breach of duty” by state agencies in allowing her to travel to the country.

But Judge Robert Jay said there was “insufficient” evidence for Begum to win the argument that depriving her of her British citizenship did not respect her human rights. Given that she remains in Syria, British authorities are not compelled to facilitate her return, the judge said.

“Reasonable people will differ on the threat she posed to Britain’s national security in February 2019, and how that threat should be balanced against all offsetting considerations. “But under our constitutional solution, these sensitive issues are what the Secretary of State evaluates and what the Commission evaluates.” not.”

Begum challenged the actions of then-British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, arguing that he remained stateless and should have been treated as a child trafficking victim rather than a security risk. .

The British government claimed she could ask for a Bangladeshi passport based on family ties.But Ms Begum’s family insisted she was from the UK and did not have a Bangladeshi passport.

Javid expressed satisfaction with the decision.

“This is a complicated case, but the Home Secretary should have the authority to prevent anyone assessed as a threat to our country from entering our country,” he said.

An immigration court held a hearing on Begum’s appeal in November. The incident highlighted the larger question of how the West treats those who joined ISIS but want to return to their home countries. Many remain in camps in northeastern Syria.

Begum fled east London with two friends and married an IS fighter in Syria. That was when the group’s online recruitment program lured an impressive young man into the self-proclaimed caliphate.

Begum married a Dutch man fighting for IS and had three children, all of whom died.

However, her apparent lack of remorse in an interview shortly after she surfaced in a refugee camp sparked criticism in the UK. Her tone changed as she fought.

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