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Business News/ News / World/  'ISIS bride' Shamima Begum loses appeal to regain UK citizenship. Here's why
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'ISIS bride' Shamima Begum loses appeal to regain UK citizenship. Here's why

Judges said it wasn't the court's job to decide whether the decision to strip Shamima Begum of her British citizenship was “harsh” or whether she was the “author of her own misfortune”.

Shamima Begum is a Bangladeshi-origin woman born in London. (AFP)Premium
Shamima Begum is a Bangladeshi-origin woman born in London. (AFP)

Shamima Begum, who fled the UK as a 15-year-old schoolgirl to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, lost yet another legal battle on Friday to regain her British citizenship and return to the UK from Syria.

She had filed an appeal against the British government's decision to revoke her UK citizenship, the Associated Press reported on Friday. Authorities had withdrawn her British citizenship soon after she surfaced in a Syrian refugee camp in 2019.

After a series of legal battles, Begum lost a challenge at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in February last year and then took her case to the Court of Appeal.

However, the appeal judges unanimously agreed with the special tribunal’s decision and turned down the appeal.

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Why Shamima lose her appeal?

In relaying the ruling, Chief Justice Sue Carr was quoted as saying that it wasn't the court's job to decide whether the decision to strip Begum of her British citizenship was “harsh" or whether she was the “author of her own misfortune."

"Ms Begum may well have been influenced and manipulated by others but still have made a calculated decision to travel to Syria and align with ISIL [ISIS]," said Judge Dame Sue Carr, delivering the verdict in London.

Shamima argued that the court's sole task was to assess whether the decision to strip Begum of her citizenship was unlawful. “Since it was not, Ms Begum’s appeal is dismissed," the judge was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

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Begum was represented at her appeal by barrister Samantha Knights who had argued that the government had failed to consider legal duties owed to a potential victim of trafficking.

The UK Home Office stressed that the main focus of the case was around national security. Earlier in 2022, the UK Supreme Court had upheld the decision to bar the now 24-year-old from returning to the UK.

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What's next for Shamima Begum?

Begum's lawyer indicated that a further challenge was on the cards. “I think the only thing we can really say for certainty is that we are going to keep fighting," Daniel Furner said outside the Royal Courts of Justice.

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“I want to say that I’m sorry to Shamima and to her family that after five years of fighting, she still hasn’t received justice in a British court and to promise her and promise the government that we are not going to stop fighting until she does get justice and until she is safely back home," Furner reportedly said.

Begum's legal team argued that the decision by Britain's then interior minister Sajid Javid, left her stateless and that she should have been treated as a child trafficking victim, not a security risk.

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Meanwhile, the British government claimed she could seek a Bangladeshi passport based on family ties. But Begum’s family argued that she was from the UK and never held a Bangladeshi passport.

Who is Shamima Begum?

Shamima Begum, who is now 24, was 15 when she and two other girls fled from London in February 2015 to marry IS fighters in Syria. This happened at a time when the group’s online recruitment program lured many impressionable young people to its self-proclaimed caliphate.

Begum married a Dutch man fighting for IS and had three children – all of whom later died. She and two fellow teenage schoolgirls at Bethnal Green Academy travelled from east London to Syria in 2015.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 23 Feb 2024, 07:49 PM IST
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