Shamima Begum loses bid to challenge removal of British citizenship at Supreme Court

25 March 2024, 13:51 | Updated: 25 March 2024, 14:47

Shamima Begum from Bethnal Green in London, who joined Islamic State at the age of 15
Shamima Begum, from Bethnal Green, London, who joined Islamic State at the age of 15. Picture: Getty Images

By Flaminia Luck

Shamima Begum has lost an initial bid to challenge the removal of her British citizenship at the Supreme Court, a judicial spokesperson has said.

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Ms Begum, now 24, was born in the UK to parents of Bangladeshi heritage.

At the age of 15, she travelled to Syria to support the Islamic State group. She married an IS fighter soon after arriving and went on to have three children, none of whom survived.

She was stripped of her citizensip on national security grounds in 2019.

Last year, Ms Begum lost her first appeal against the decision at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp.

Earlier this year, three judges at the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed her bid to overturn the SIAC decision.

Shamima Begum at Roj Camp, north east Syria, November 2017
Shamima Begum at Roj Camp, north east Syria, November 2017. Picture: Getty

On Monday, a judicial spokesperson confirmed that Ms Begum had asked the Court of Appeal for the green light to take her case to the Supreme Court, but had been refused.

Ms Begum may now ask the Supreme Court directly for permission to have her case heard by the UK's highest court. Dismissing her Court of Appeal challenge in February, the Lady Chief Justice Baroness Carr, said: "It could be argued the decision in Ms Begum's case was harsh.

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"It could also be argued that Ms Begum is the author of her own misfortune, but it is not for this court to agree or disagree with either point of view.

"The only task of the court was to assess whether the deprivation decision was unlawful.

"Since it was not, Ms Begum's appeal is dismissed."

Following this decision, Ms Begum's solicitor Daniel Furner said: "I want to say that I'm sorry to Shamima and to her family that after five years of fighting she still hasn't received justice in a British court, and to promise her and promise the Government that we are not going to stop fighting until she does get justice and until she is safely back home."

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