Shamima Begum has right to defend her case in UK - Justice Select Committee chair

19 July 2020, 09:23 | Updated: 19 July 2020, 09:28

Sir Bob Neil on Shamima Begum case

By Seán Hickey

The chair of the Justice Select Committee said that although what Shamima Begum has done is "pretty foul" she has the right to defend her case in the UK.

Earlier this week Shamima Begum was granted return to the UK to appeal the case of her British citizenship being removed, after she travelled to Syria to join ISIS.

Sir Bob Neill, Justice Select Committee Chair and Conservative MP was speaking to Andrew Castle about how the UK can fight a backlog of court cases after the coronavirus crisis when Ms Begum's case was brought up.

Andrew asked Sir Bob whether the UK should have allowed her to come back to defend her case in the first place.

if the case was going to proceed in the way in which it did, Sir Bob began, "then she had to have the ability to defend her case properly." He pointed out that the ruling on her citizenship has yet to be heard by a court and she has the right to be present for the hearing.

"Every decision by government - even the really controversial ones - have to be reviewed by the law."

Ms Begum was allowed to return to the UK to appeal her citizenship revocation
Ms Begum was allowed to return to the UK to appeal her citizenship revocation. Picture: PA

Sir Bob gave his view on the actions of Ms Begum, stating that "ultimately, what she's done is pretty foul and some of the things she said have been pretty foul" but despite this she has the right to appeal the case.

Andrew took a more cynical approach, arguing that "if she comes back here...will she ever leave?"

The Justice Select Committee chair accepted the argument but stood by the assertion that Ms Begum is from the UK and it is then the responsibility of the UK to process her.

"If she has behaved in a way that many people regard to be a traitor, well she is a British traitor at the end of the day and it therefore falls to us to deal with her." Said Sir Bob.