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Woman Who Joined ISIS as a Teen Loses Bid to Regain UK Citizenship

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on February 24, 2024, 16:47:52

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UAE, UK, ISIS, court of appeal, British, citizenship, Shamima Begum

A woman, who at the age of 15 left the United Kingdom to join ISIS, has had her appeal rejected by the Court of Appeal regarding the decision to revoke her British citizenship.

Shamima Begum travelled to Syria in 2015 with two school friends to join the extremist organisation. During her time there, she married an ISIS fighter and lived in Raqqa for several years.

In 2019, Begum resurfaced in Al-Hawl, a Syrian refugee camp, where she gained international attention as an 'ISIS bride.' She pleaded with the UK government to allow her to return home for the birth of her son. However, then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked her British citizenship in February of that year.

Tragically, Begum's newborn son passed away in a Syrian refugee camp the following month. She disclosed to UK media that she had previously lost two other children in Syria during infancy.

Regarding the legality of the government's decision, Lady Chief Justice Baroness Carr stated that “the decision in Ms Begum's case may be perceived as harsh. It could also be argued that Ms Begum is responsible for her own circumstances. However, it is not the role of this court to agree or disagree with either viewpoint.”

The recent ruling does not necessarily mark the end of Begum's legal battle. Alexander dos Santos, an extradition barrister, suggested to Sky News that there is potential for her lawyers to appeal again, citing her statelessness as a significant factor. Begum's legal team has argued that the British government did not fully consider the consequences of rendering her stateless.

Throughout her legal ordeal, Begum has made public appeals, including appearances in the BBC documentary 'The Shamima Begum Story' and a 10-part BBC podcast series. In the podcast, she maintains that she is 'not a bad person,' attributing the negative public perception to her portrayal in the media. Her lawyers argue that she was a victim of child trafficking and that the decision to revoke her citizenship was unlawful.

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