Court Votes to Uphold Revocation of Begum’s Citizenship

( – A woman who traveled to Syria to join ISIS at the age of 15 has had her appeal rejected after she attempted to retain her U.K. citizenship. Shamima Begum, now 24, has been living in a Syrian refugee camp since 2019. She had three children who all perished, and judges giving comment on her appeal to retain her English citizenship said that the outcome was just, despite claims of being “harsh.”

Begum left London in February 2015 with two female friends after being successfully lured by ISIS’s online recruiting. She ended up marrying a Dutch man and having three children by him. They all subsequently died.

Her British citizenship was withdrawn by the government after it was apparent she left the country to cavort with Islamic terrorists in the Middle East. She appealed the decision last year with the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a tribunal that can reverse decisions to take away citizenship. An additional appeal was made with Britain’s Court of Appeal.

All three judges on the panel dismissed the case. Regardless of the circumstances, the judges declared that their only task was to determine whether or not the loss of her citizenship was lawful, which they found it was. Lawyers for Begum argued that the penalty was incredibly harsh given her youth and inexperience and the permanent impact it will have on the course of her life going forward. The judges were unmoved.

They also argued that Begum should have been treated as a trafficked minor, not a potential terrorist and that the removal of her citizenship left her stateless.

Lawyer Daniel Furner, who represents Begum, said he was intent on continuing to fight for Begum. A further challenge would have to be brought before Britain’s Supreme Court.

The decision to remove her citizenship was originally made by then interior minister Sajid Javid. Javid suggested the ruling was welcome news and highlighted that interior ministers require the authority to remove or prevent anyone from entering the country that poses a security risk due to ideology or affiliations with terrorist organizations.

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