Government loses appeal on Shamima Begum case
Friday, July 24th, 2020
The government lost its appeal on 16 July on Shamima Begum’s right to return to the United Kingdom after she left Britain to join ISIL in 2015. The Court of Appeal partially overturned an earlier ruling by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission from earlier this year. The government has stated that it will challenge the decision by the Court of Appeal.
Shamima Begum left the UK in 2015 with two of her friends, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, to join ISIL. The defeat of ISIL has meant that Shamima Begum has been living in a Syrian refugee camp and through an interview with the journalist Anthony Loyd of the Times last year she has asked to return to the United Kingdom.
Sajid Javid, who was Home Secretary at the time, removed Shamima Begum’s right to the British passport so that she would not be able to return to the country. Her parents were both born in Bangladesh so according to Bangladeshi law Shamima has the right to Bangladeshi citizenship though she is not a Bangladeshi citizen. This is the position of the Home Office. Effectively, the British government made her stateless.
This was challenged through Appeal and though the Court of Appeal did not disagree with the removal of citizenship, it did decide that Shamima Begum had to the right to return to the United Kingdom in order to have a fair hearing. The Court also stated that SIAC had not considered deteriorating conditions in the refugee camp and the consequences for Shamima Begum. The government has stated that it will challenge the Appeal.
According to the Home Office, 900 individuals have travelled to engage in the conflict in Syria. Of these, 20% have been killed and 40% have since returned (most in the early stages of the conflict).
MuslimView writes: The removal of citizenship from British nationals is a worrying development. It has not been discussed much within the British Muslim community. As a matter of principle it challenges basic assumptions to individual rights which are held in law. Simultaneously, all individuals who travelled to fight with ISIL must be held to account before the law. The large numbers of fighters that have travelled to fight with ISIL raises serious questions about the prevent policy and especially its lack of engagement with the British Muslim community.