Wednesday September 22, 2021

Shamima’s potential return to UK on hold pending SC battle

August 01, 2020

LONDON: The UK’s highest court will consider whether Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK to challenge the deprivation of her British citizenship.

Ms Begum, now 20, was one of three east London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group (IS) in February 2015. She lived under IS rule for more than three years before she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February last year.

Then-home secretary Sajid Javid revoked her British citizenship on national security grounds later that month.Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal 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 also found that “the national security concerns about her could be addressed and managed if she returns to the United Kingdom”.

At a remote hearing on Friday, the Court of Appeal granted the Home Office permission to appeal against its ruling at the Supreme Court. Lady Justice King said the case raised “points of law of general public importance” which should be considered by the UK’s highest court.

She said that “clearly there must be a stay” on Ms Begum’s potential return to the UK “until further order by the Supreme Court”. The judge also granted permission for Ms Begum’s lawyers to challenge the Court of Appeal’s decision that the absence of a fair and effective appeal did not mean her British citizenship should be restored, subject to the Supreme Court accepting that part of the case.