Shamima Begum loses appeal over citizenship

Shamima Begum caught leaving the UK on CCTV. Pic: Met Police

Shamima Begum, who fled the UK when she was 15 along with two other girls from Bethnal Green Academy to join Islamic State, has lost the first stage of her citizenship appeal. 

Left to right: Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum. Pic: Met Police

In February 2019 her British citizenship was revoked by the former home secretary Sajid Javid after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp nine months pregnant. She said she had married a Dutch Isis fighter Yago Riedijk.   

Shortly after, Begum attempted to re-enter the UK, seeking protection for herself and her baby boy, who has since died. She also argued that she was ‘groomed’ into joining Islamic State.

Today, at 20 years old she has been trying to appeal the cancellation of her citizenship, which has been denied by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission tribunal (SIAC).

Under international law, citizenship can be denied if the individual concerned has dual citizenship; In Begum’s case, she has Bangladeshi citizenship from her mother’s side.

Additionally, Judge Doron Blum stated that the decision does not breach the Home Office’s extraterritorial Human Rights Policy.

The SIAC also suggested turning to her Bangladeshi relatives for help, although in February 2019, the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that she isn’t considered a Bangladeshi citizen.

The next phase of the process will consider the legality and legitimacy of the decision to revoke her citizenship under national security grounds.

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