UK appeals court rules woman who joined ISIS can return to appeal revoked citizenship
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UK appeals court rules woman who joined ISIS can return to appeal revoked citizenship

The UK Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Shamina Begum, 20, who joined ISIS at age 15 can return to the UK to appeal her revoked British citizenship before the Special Immigrant Appeals Commission (SIAC).

The Secretary of State denied Begum’s leave to enter the UK to pursue her appeal before SIAC in June 2019. Begum then appealed the denial to SIAC, which was upheld. The UK Court of Appeals reversed and held that, to have a “fair and effective appeal,” Begum may return from Syria “albeit subject to such controls that the Secretary of State deems appropriate.”

Begum was born in the UK and held British citizenship since birth. When she was 15, she traveled to Syria with friends, where she married an ISIS fighter. She had three children who passed away. She currently lives in a detention camp that is run by the Syrian Democratic Forces. SIAC found in a previous decision that Begum holds Bangladeshi citizenship by descent, therefore not rendering her stateless.

The appeals court found that the detention camp meets the standard of “inhuman and degrading punishment” under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Moreover, the court ruled that SIAC should have considered the full merits of Begum’s claim that revocation of her citizenship constitutes a breach of Article 2 and 3 of the ECHR.

The appeals court’s decision is being remitted to SIAC for further review consistent with their judgment.