The case of Shamima Begum, a former London schoolgirl that left the UK for Syria at the age of 15, has grasped the attention of national media since she was found in a refugee camp last year.
After spending three years under ISIS rule, Begum was found by a journalist living in a camp, pregnant and hoping to return to her home to raise her child. This sparked national debate. However, shortly after being found, Sajid Javid, a British MP and now the Chancellor of the Exchequer, revoked her citizenship despite it being her only citizenship, and thus making her stateless – an action against international law. This was a tactic used against any British citizen who had left to become an ISIS member in order to prevent their return to the UK. She lost her child not long after.
Since then, Begum has been fighting the decision. Her lawyers appealed the decision, but the Special Immigrations Appeals Court ruled it lawful due to Begum being a Bangladeshi citizen through her parents. Bangladesh has already stated that not only is Begum not a citizen, but she will not be allowed to enter the country.
On Thursday, a landmark decision by the Court of Appeals granted Begum permission to launch a judiciary review against the citizenship ruling.
“Ms Begum should be allowed to come to the United Kingdom to pursue her appeal albeit subject to such controls as the Secretary of State deems appropriate,” said a summary of the decision.
READ MORE: Shamima Begum Begs UK for ‘Second Chance’
The decision was welcomed by Begum’s lawyers:
“Ms Begum has never had a fair opportunity to give her side of the story. She is not afraid of facing British justice, she welcomes it. But the stripping of her citizenship without a chance to clear her name is not justice, it is the opposite,” said Daniel Furner.
Many have highlighted Begum’s young age as evidence of her grooming. When she first left the country, Begum was 15 years old. During her time away, she was married and lost three children. On the other hand, many have raised concerns on national security by allowing Begum back into the country despite there being no real evidence linking her to ISIS activities.
Lord Justice Flaux said in the Court of Appeals decision that those concerns “could be addressed and managed”.
Photo Credit: Yahoo News