What happens next in Shamima Begum's appeal? Her family lawyer explains

16 July 2020, 18:02 | Updated: 16 July 2020, 18:03

By Fiona Jones

"IS bride" Shamima Begum is now allowed to return to the UK to challenge her revoked citizenship - what are the next steps? Her family lawyer explains all to Shelagh Fogarty.

Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK to challenge the deprivation of her British citizenship, senior judges have ruled.

Ms Begum, now 20, is one of three east London schoolgirls aged 15 who travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State group (IS) in 2015 and her citizenship was revoked by the Home Office on security grounds after she was found in a refugee camp in 2019.

Criminal defence lawyer Tasnime Akunjee represents Shamima Begum's family and told LBC she will stay in the refugee camp "for the time being" with the Home Office having until Monday to make their case against her return.

Mr Akunjee said the Supreme Court will review this counter-appeal and if they think the Home Office have arguments to be aired there will be a hearing.

The Supreme Justices said, "Fairness and justice must on the facts of this case must outweigh the national security concerns so that the leave to enter appeals should be allowed".

The judges also said that the national security concerns about her "could be addressed and managed if she returns to the United Kingdom".

The Begum family lawyer tells Shelagh Fogarty if she does return she may be put under a style of house arrest
The Begum family lawyer tells Shelagh Fogarty if she does return she may be put under a style of house arrest. Picture: LBC/PA

"Does that mean she would be in custody here?" Shelagh asked Mr Akunjee.

He responded that it is possible but more likely she will be put under a house arrest style order.

Shelagh commented that there is a public opinion about Shamima Begum that despite being 15 when she went to Syria and was arguably groomed by this, "she didn't really do herself any favours in some of those interviews by seeming to be so separate from any responsibility at all."

Mr Akunjee said he presumes this will be the "vast majority" of public opinion; however he pointed out that she is unlikely to function as the average teenager, due to being steeped in IS fundamentalism, having to live in a refuge camp and having to bear the loss of three children.

Shelagh asked how endangered Ms Begum is and Mr Akunjee told Shelagh that when the Begum family asked the government to "bring their baby back" from the Syrian camp, the Government responded that it was too dangerous for British officials to venture there.

Not only is it dangerous for Ms Begum to be there, but also impossible for her to amount an effective appeal of her revoked citizenship, he said.

As there are many decisions to be made before a court hearing, the family lawyer predicted it will be some months before there is any process on her case.

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