ISIS bride, Shamima Begum cannot return to the UK, Supreme Court rules
Shamima Begum, who left the UK for Syria to join the Islamic State group as a teenager, will not be allowed to return and fight her citizenship case, the Supreme Court has ruled.
In February 2015, at just 15, Shamima travelled from her east London home to Syria with two school friends. She was married off to an ISIS fighter from the Netherlands and lived under ISIS rule for more than three years.
Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.
On Friday, February 26, 2021, five Supreme Court justices unanimously turned down her request to be able to return to the UK to fight for her citizenship to be restored.
Ms. Begum, 21, who is currently in a camp controlled by armed guards in northern Syria, had wanted to return back to the UK to challenge the home secretary’s decision to remove her British nationality.
Initially, the Court of Appeal said she should be allowed to return to fight the case.
But in November, the Home Office appealed that decision at the Supreme Court, arguing that allowing her to return to the UK “would create significant national security risks” and expose the public to “an increased risk of terrorism”.
Announcing the ruling on Friday February 26, Lord Reed said: “The Supreme Court unanimously allows all of the home secretary’s appeals and dismisses Ms Begum’s cross-appeal.”
He said the Court of Appeal’s judgment “did not give the home secretary’s assessment the respect which it should have received” given the role’s “responsibility for making such assessments” and accountability to parliament.
Lord Reed added the Court of Appeal had “mistakenly believed that, when an individual’s right to have a fair hearing… came into conflict with the requirements of national security, her right to a fair hearing must prevail.”
He said the right to a fair hearing did “not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public”.