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Islamic State bride Shamima Begum cannot return to UK for citizenship fight, Supreme Court rules

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By Euronews  with AP
Handout photo of Shamima Begum
Handout photo of Shamima Begum   -   Copyright  AFP

The UK's Supreme Court has ruled Shamima Begum, who travelled to Syria in 2015 to join the Islamic State group, cannot return to the UK to fight for her citizenship.

Begum fled the UK along with two school friends when she was 15 to join the terror group, which had taken over swathes of Syria at the time.

Following the fall of IS in the country, she resurfaced at a refugee camp in Syria, is currently being detained at the Al-Roj camp, in north-east Syria, by the Syrian Democratic Forces.

She has been asking to return to the UK to attend legal proceedings over getting back her citizenship, which was revoked by the UK government in February 2019.

Authorities argued her return to the UK presented a risk to national security.

She was stripped of her nationality by former home secretary Sajid Javid, who had argued that she was Bangladeshi by descent and could therefore go to Bangladesh.

She challenged the decision, arguing she is not a citizen of another country and that Javid's decision left her stateless.

The Court of Appeal ruled in July 2020 that she should be allowed to return to pursue her appeal saying that was the only way she could have a "fair and effective appeal".

In November that decision was challenged at the Supreme Court by the Home Office on the grounds that her return would pose significant national security risks.

The Supreme Court, in its judgment on Friday 26 February, ruled against the Court of Appeal's decision, stating among other reasons that "the right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public".

Sajid Javid welcomed the decision, saying in a statement: "There are no simple solutions to this situation, but any restrictions of rights and freedoms faced by this individual are a direct consequence of the extreme actions that she and others have taken, in violation of government guidance and common morality."