Shamima Begum loses appeal against revocation of British citizenship

Shamima Begum loses appeal

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Shamima Begum loses appeal against revocation of British citizenship:

On February 19, 2019, the then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid removed Begum’s British citizenship on national security grounds. A month later, Begum’s newborn son died in a Syrian refugee camp. She told UK media she had two other children prior to that baby, who also died in Syria during infancy (CNN, 2023).

Begum’s legal team argued that the UK Home Office had a duty to investigate whether she was a victim of trafficking before revoking her citizenship. However, Judge Robert Jay dismissed her appeal against the decision, stating that the removal of her citizenship was lawful. He gave the decision on Wednesday following a five-day hearing in November (CNN, 2023).

The ruling does not determine if Begum can return to the UK, but only whether the removal of her citizenship was lawful. Amnesty International called the decision “very disappointing” and stated that the power to strip citizenship should not exist in the modern world, especially when dealing with a person who was exploited as a child. Begum remains in unlawful, arbitrary, and indefinite detention without trial in a Syrian camp, along with thousands of others, including large numbers of women and children (CNN, 2023).

Begum’s lawyers criticized the ruling, calling it a “lost opportunity to put into reverse a profound mistake and a continuing injustice.” They also argued that “there is now no protection for a British child trafficked out of the UK if the home secretary invokes national security” and vowed to pursue every possible avenue to challenge the decision (CNN, 2023).

In response to the ruling, Javid tweeted that it “upheld my decision to remove an individual’s citizenship on national security grounds.” He added that home secretaries should have the power to prevent anyone entering the UK who is assessed to pose a threat to it (CNN, 2023).

Begum’s case has garnered international attention, with the media portraying her as an “ISIS bride” when she made headlines in 2019 after pleading with the UK government to be allowed to return to the UK for the birth of her son. In the podcast series, she insisted that she is “not a bad person,” blaming her media portrayal for the British public’s perception of her as a “danger” and a “risk” (CNN, 2023).

Begum was only 15 when she left the UK in 2015 with two school friends to join the ISIS terror group. While in Syria, she married an ISIS fighter and spent several years living in Raqqa. She reappeared in al-Hawl, a Syrian refugee camp of 39,000 people, in 2019, where she gave birth to her son (CNN, 2023).

Begum challenged the UK government’s decision to revoke her citizenship, but in June 2019, the government refused her application to be allowed to enter the UK to pursue her appeal. In 2020, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that Begum should be granted leave to enter the country because otherwise, it would not be “a fair and effective hearing.” However, the Supreme Court reversed that decision the following year, arguing that the Court of Appeal made four errors when it ruled that Begum should be allowed to return to the UK to carry out her appeal (CNN, 2023).

According to a British government spokesperson, “the death of any child is tragic and deeply distressing for the family.” However, the spokesperson added that the UK Foreign Office “has consistently advised against travel to Syria” since 2011 (CNN, 2023).

Overall, Begum’s case has been a contentious issue, with many arguing that the UK government’s decision to revoke her citizenship was a violation of her human rights. However, the recent

Begum’s case has been controversial and divisive in the UK, with some arguing that she should be allowed to return and face justice, while others believe she should be left in Syria to face the consequences of her actions. The UK government’s decision to strip her of her citizenship has been criticized by human rights groups such as Amnesty International, who argue that it violates international law and leaves Begum vulnerable to further harm in Syria (Amnesty International, 2023).

While the court’s ruling does not determine whether Begum can return to the UK, it does raise questions about the government’s powers to revoke citizenship without due process. Critics argue that the Home Office should be required to investigate whether individuals like Begum have been trafficked or coerced into joining terrorist groups before revoking their citizenship, as failing to do so could leave vulnerable individuals without any legal protection (Pierce & Furner, 2023).

Begum’s legal team has vowed to continue fighting for her rights and challenging the government’s decision. As of now, she remains in a Syrian refugee camp, where she has been living since 2019, and her future remains uncertain (CNN, 2023).

In conclusion, Shamima Begum’s appeal against the decision to strip her of her British citizenship has been dismissed by a UK court. While the ruling does not determine whether she can return to the UK, it raises questions about the government’s powers to revoke citizenship without due process and leaves Begum vulnerable to further harm in Syria. The case has been controversial and divisive, and Begum’s legal team has vowed to continue fighting for her rights. As of now, she remains in a Syrian refugee camp, and her future remains uncertain (Amnesty International, 2023; CNN, 2023; Pierce & Furner, 2023).

References:

Amnesty International. (2023, February 22). UK: Shamima Begum’s appeal against citizenship revocation dismissed. https://www.amnesty.org/

CNN. (2023, February 22). Shamima Begum loses appeal against decision to strip her of UK citizenship. https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/22/europe/shamima-begum-ruling-intl-gbr/index.html

Pierce, G., & Furner, D. (2023, February 22). Shamima Begum: Lawyers vow to continue legal fight. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com


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