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Shamima Begum: IS bride ‘angry, upset and crying’ after court rules she can’t return to UK

Written by on 27 February 2021

IS bride Shamima Begum is “very angry, upset and crying” after being refused permission to return to the UK to fight a decision to strip her of British citizenship.

On Friday, 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.

Their judgment came six years after the then 15-year-old left east London with friends to join the Islamic State group.

Home Secretary Priti Patel welcomed the news, saying it “reaffirmed the home secretary’s authority to make vital national security decisions”.

Now aged 21, Begum was one of three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green who travelled to Syria. The other two are thought to have been killed in the conflict.

FILE - This is a Monday Feb. 23, 2015 file handout image of a three image combo of stills taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, centre and and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey. The Dutch man who married a British teenager after she ran away to join the Islamic State group says he wants to return home to the Netherlands with Shamima Begum and their newborn son. Yago Riedijk tells the B Image: Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum, and Amira Abase pictured going through Gatwick security in 2015 before heading to Syria Pic: Associated Press file

Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

After marrying an IS fighter from the Netherlands, she had already lost two children and the third died shortly after being born.

Begum challenged the Home Office’s decision to remove her citizenship and wanted to be allowed to return to the UK to pursue that appeal.

And initially, the Court of Appeal said she should be allowed to return to fight the case.

However, 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”.

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Lord Reed said: “The Supreme Court unanimously allows all of the home secretary’s appeals and dismisses Ms Begum’s cross-appeal.

“The right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public.”

Also in their ruling, the five law lords criticised the Court of Appeal for making its “own assessment of the requirements of national security” and ignoring the home secretary “despite the absence of any relevant evidence before it, or any relevant findings of fact by the court below”.

A different ruling could have had huge significance for the government, which has revoked the citizenship of about 150 British nationals on grounds of national security.

Begum, who is currently living in the Roj camp in northern Syria refused to talk to journalists on her lawyer’s advice.

But her friends told Sky News: “She’s very angry. And she’s very upset and crying. She doesn’t want to talk to us.”

Ms Patel’s predecessor Sajid Javid, who took the decision to revoke Ms Begum’s citizenship, said he “strongly welcomed” the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“There are no simple solutions to this situation, but any restrictions of rights and freedoms faced by this individual are a direct consequence of the extreme actions that she and others have taken, in violation of government guidance and common morality.”

Begum is currently in a camp controlled by armed guards in northern Syria.

She cannot speak to her lawyers or participate in a hearing by video.

Begum spoke to Sky News days after her third baby was born in February 2019, telling correspondent John Sparks “a lot of people should have sympathy” for her as there was no evidence she had done anything dangerous.

Shamima Begum spoke to Sky News in February, days after her third baby was born in February 2019 Image: Shamima Begum spoke exclusively to Sky News days after her third baby was born

But later that year Ms Patel vowed Begum would never be allowed to return to the UK.

Following today’s ruling she said: “The government will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security and our priority remains maintaining the safety and security of our citizens.”

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