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Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to UK to fight for citizenship, court rules


Schoolgirl Shamima Begum should be given permission to return to the UK, senior judges have ruled. They say Ms Begum, who travelled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group (Isis), should be allowed to return so she can challenge the deprivation of her British citizenship.

Now 20, she is one of three east London schoolgirls who left the country in February 2015 and lived under Isis rule for three years. She was then found nine months pregnant in a Syrian refugee camp in February last year. The home secretary at the time, Sajid Javid, later revoked her British citizenship on national security grounds.

Ms Begum took legal action against the Home Office, claiming the decision was unlawful because it left her stateless and exposed her to the risk of death, or inhuman and degrading treatment. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) – a specialist tribunal which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone’s British citizenship on national security grounds – ruled the decision was lawful in February as Ms Begum was ‘a citizen of Bangladesh by descent’ at the time.

The tribunal also found she ‘cannot play any meaningful part in her appeal and that, to that extent, the appeal will not be fair and effective’, but ruled ‘it does not follow that her appeal succeeds’.

Ms Begum’s challenge to the Home Office’s decision to refuse to allow her to enter the UK to effectively pursue her appeal was also rejected.

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