Great Britain

Shamima Begum still battling to be allowed back into Britain as she ‘plans to appeal ban’

ISIS bride Shamima Begum may be ready to mount a legal bid to overturn an appeals ban as she continues her quest to be allowed back into the UK. 

Begum was defeated yesterday in her legal battle to return for a court appeal over the stripping of her British citizenship — but Government sources understand her lawyers may try to challenge this. 

The highest court in the land yesterday delivered a stinging rebuke to the Court of Appeal, which last year cleared the way for Begum to come back to Britain after finding she was denied a "fair and effective appeal". 

But Lord Reed, the president of the Supreme Court, ruled the appeal process should be paused until Begum "is in a position to play an effective part in it without the safety of the public being compromised".

This means Begum is set to languish in the fetid al-Roj camp under the guard of the Syrian Democratic Forces — who are said to ban contact with lawyers.

However, the Telegraph reports Government sources fear she may launch a legal bid to force Britain to facilitate a court hearing that would be held remotely from the camp. 

A source said: "Essentially her appeal over her citizenship is in limbo until such time as she can appear at a hearing. 

"We think her lawyers will probably try to argue that the Government has to provide the facilities in order to enable such a hearing to happen.

"But the reality is that she is in a camp in north-east Syria which is extremely dangerous and has probably not got great phone reception. How could we facilitate it?"

Another way she could challenge yesterday’s Supreme court appeal ban would be to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, according to a source.

Begum, wearing sunglasses, leggings and white trainers, refused to comment to reporters at the al-Roj refugee camp in Syria following yesterday's ruling.

The 21-year-old was said to have been in tears in her tent following the ruling this morning.

Mamdoh Abdalla, a Kurdish translator at the camp said she was "angry" and "cried" after receiving the news.

She added: "She does not talk to us…she was in her tent…she does not talk to us or any other journalist."

Begum was defeated in her legal battle to return to the UK for a court appeal over the removal of her British citizenship.

The Supreme Court uninamously ruled in favour of the Government and said Begum cannot come back to the UK for a court case to reclaim her British passport for the safety of the public.

Delivering the ruling, Lord Reed savaged a previous judgement by the Court of Appeal and said it had 'made its own assessment of the requirements of [national] security' without any 'relative evidence'.

The right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public

Lord Reed

He said: "The right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public.

"If a vital public interest makes it impossible for a case to be fairly heard then the courts cannot ordinarily hear it."

Lord Reed said her legal bid to reclaim her British citizenship should be postponed until she is no longer considered a threat to national security.

He said: "The appropriate response to the problem in the present case is for the deprivation hearing to be stayed - or postponed - until Ms Begum is in a position to play an effective part in it without the safety of the public being compromised.

"That is not a perfect solution, as it is not known how long it may be before that is possible. But there is no perfect solution to a dilemma of the present kind."

Begum was 15 when she left her home in Bethnal Green, East London and fled to Syria to marry an ISIS terrorist.

Then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked her citizenship on national security grounds after she was discovered pregnant in a refugee camp in 2019 and announced she wanted to return to the UK.

MAROONED IN NORTHERN SYRIA

She has been stuck in northern Syria ever since.

The Court of Appeal last year said she should be allowed to return to the UK to pursue her appeal against the decision.

But the Government challenged the ruling at the Supreme Court and was backed by the highest court in the land today.

Priti Patel argued allowing her to return to the UK "would create significant national security risks" and expose the public to "an increased risk of terrorism".

The Supreme Court ruling stated the Home Secretary's assessment had not been properly considered by the Court of Appeal.

Following the ruling, Ms Patel said: "The Supreme Court has unanimously found in favour of the Government’s position, and reaffirmed the Home Secretary’s authority to make vital national security decisions.

“The Government will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security and our priority remains maintaining the safety and security of our citizens.”

Lord Reed said: "The Court of Appeal's approach did not give the Secretary of State's assessment the respect which it should have received, given that it is the Secretary of State who has been charged by Parliament with responsibility for making such assessments, and who is democratically accountable to Parliament for the discharge of that responsibility.

"In such a case, it would be irresponsible for the court to allow the appeal without any regard to the interests of national security which prompted the decision in question, and it is difficult to conceive that the law would require it to do so."

Welcoming the decision, Sajid Javid said: "The Home Secretary is responsible for the security of our citizens and borders, and therefore should have the power to decide whether anyone posing a serious threat to that security can enter our country."

Begum's lawyer Tasnime Akunjee wrote on Twitter: "Disappointed."

Human rights group Liberty, which intervened in Ms Begum's case, said the Supreme Court's ruling sets "an extremely dangerous precedent".

Rosie Brighouse, a lawyer with Liberty, said: "The right to a fair trial is not something democratic governments should take away on a whim, and nor is someone's British citizenship.

"This approach does not serve justice, it's a cynical distraction from a failed counter-terror strategy and another example of this Government's disregard for access to justice and the rule of law."

What did Shamima Begum do?

When Begum was discovered and stripped of her citizenship, her own dad slammed her choice to run away to join the terror group.

Ahmed Ali said he was "on the side of the government" and condemned her lack of remorse before claiming he was misquoted.

Had Begum been able to leave the camp in Syria and return to the UK to launch her appeal, it is likely the Government would have struggled to send Begum back to a war-torn country.

Begum was one of three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy who left their homes and families to join ISIS, shortly after Sharmeena Begum - who is no relation - travelled to Syria in December 2014.

Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, then 16 and 15 respectively, and Ms Begum boarded a flight from Gatwick Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, on February 17 2015, before making their way to Raqqa in Syria.

Begum claims she married Dutch convert Yago Riedijk 10 days after arriving in ISIS territory, with all three of her school friends also reportedly marrying foreign ISIS fighters.

She told The Times last February that she left Raqqa in January 2017 with her husband but her children, a one-year-old girl and a three-month-old boy, had both since died.

Shamima Begum ruling divides Britain

THE Supreme Court ruling to block Shamima Begum's bid to return to Britain has divided opinion across the UK.

Following the ruling, many Brits described their delight the jiahdi bride will be blocked from returning to Britain while others believe she should be allowed to return home.

One Twitter user wrote: "Appalled by Supreme Court ruling over Shamima Gegum. She. Was. A. Child."

Another added: "Shamima Begum was 15 when she was radicalised. 15. She was a child. How are people failing to empathise with this??? Plus, she is British...."

However, others disagreed with the argument. One Twitter user said: "Why do SJW [social justice warriors] have an incessant need to back the world's most despicable people?

"Shamima Begum described Manchester Arena victims as fair game. She volunteered to enter the world's most barbaric death cult. She isn't the victim here."

Another added: "Do you think the people saying Ms Begum's treatment is unfair would be saying the same if it was a teenager who had travelled to, say, Eastern Europe to join a far-right skinhead group?"

One reply stated: "#SheIsBritish She is a traitor. She can rot in hell."

She said in 2019: "I’m not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago.

"I could not endure the suffering and hardship that staying on the battlefield involved.

"But I was also frightened that the child I am about to give birth to would die like my other children if I stayed on. So I fled the caliphate. Now all I want to do is come home to Britain."

Supreme Court rules that Shamima Begum should not be allowed to return to the UK to appeal against the removal of her British citizenship

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