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ISIS bride Shamima Begum should be allowed back to the UK, judges rule

ISIS bride Shamima Begum, 20, should be allowed back to the UK, judges have 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 and lived under ISIS rule for more than three years.

She gave birth but her kids have all died. Her one-year-old daughter and her three-month-old boy, died a while back.

Afterwards, a pregnant Shamima was found by journalists at a refugee camp and her life in the camp became public. She gave birth to a third child afterwards but he passed away soon after he was born.

She begged to be allowed to return to the UK but then Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her British citizenship in February 2019. She then complained how her life “fell apart” when she was stripped of her UK citizenship when she was found by journalists at a refugee camp.

Begum launched legal action against the Home Office, claiming the decision left her stateless and exposed to a real risk of death or inhuman and degrading treatment.

In February, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission – a tribunal which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone’s British citizenship on national security grounds – ruled the decision was lawful. The tribunal ruled that as "a citizen of Bangladesh by descent" Begum was therefore not rendered stateless.

However, the Court of Appeal today ruled that "the only way in which she can have a fair and effective appeal is to be permitted to come into the United Kingdom to pursue her appeal".

Lord Justice Flaux – sitting with Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Singh – said: "Fairness and justice must, on the facts of this case, outweigh the national security concerns, so that the leave to enter appeals should be allowed."

The judge found that "the national security concerns about her could be addressed and managed if she returns to the United Kingdom".

In its ruling, the court said: "If the Security Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions consider that the evidence and public interest tests for a prosecution for terrorist offences are met, she could be arrested and charged upon her arrival in the United Kingdom and remanded in custody pending trial."

Lord Justice Flaux also said: "With due respect to SIAC, it is unthinkable that, having concluded that Ms Begum could not take any meaningful part in her appeal so that it could not be fair and effective, she should have to continue with her appeal nonetheless."

He added: "It is difficult to conceive of any case where a court or tribunal has said we cannot hold a fair trial, but we are going to go on anyway."

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