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Shamima Begum Denied Appeal to Supreme Court Over Citizenship Revocation



Shamima Begum‘s quest to challenge the removal of her British citizenship suffered a setback as her initial bid to appeal to the Supreme Court was denied. The 24-year-old, known for her association with the Islamic State group, had sought permission from the Court of Appeal to elevate her case to the UK‘s highest judicial authority.

In 2019, the British government revoked Begum’s citizenship on grounds of national security, rendering her stateless due to her past involvement with IS. Begum, who left London nine years ago at the age of 15 to join the extremist group in Syria, has been embroiled in legal battles ever since.

Despite her legal team arguing that the decision to strip her citizenship was illegal, citing failure to consider her potential trafficking victim status, the Court of Appeal upheld the government’s action earlier this year. This left Begum with the option to directly petition the Supreme Court for permission to reexamine her case.

Delivering the rejection in February, Lady Chief Justice Baroness Carr acknowledged the contentious nature of the decision but emphasized the court’s role in assessing its legality rather than moral judgment. The Court of Appeal concluded that the deprivation of Begum’s citizenship was lawful, effectively dismissing her appeal.

Born in the UK to Bangladeshi parents, Begum was part of a trio of east London girls—Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase—who ventured to Syria in support of IS in 2015. Sultana is believed to have perished in a bombing, while Abase’s fate remains unknown to this day.

During her time in Syria, Begum lived under IS rule, marrying a Dutch IS member with whom she had three children, all of whom have reportedly died. Found in a Kurdish detention center post-IS defeat, Begum has been languishing in a camp in northern Syria ever since, with her current conditions deemed dire by her legal representatives.

Following the Court of Appeal’s latest ruling, Begum’s solicitor expressed regret over the prolonged legal battle and vowed to continue the fight for justice, emphasizing Begum’s desire to return to the UK. The Home Office reiterated its position on maintaining national security as the paramount concern amidst the ongoing legal saga.

Rachel Adams

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