Former British citizen Shamima Begum launched an appeal Tuesday in an attempt to regain her British citizenship. In February, Begum lost an appeal against the decision to remove her citizenship, following her involvement with the terrorist group ISIS in Syria.
In 2015, when Begum was 15 years old, she left the UK to join ISIS and subsequently married a member of the group. She had three children with the member, all of whom died. Due to her involvement with ISIS, in 2019, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped Begum of her British citizenship, meaning she could not return to the UK. Shortly after this, Begum was reported to be found in a Syrian refugee camp.
Begum appealed to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) regarding Sajid’s actions. In February 2023, the SIAC held the decision to be lawful due to the national security advice received by ministers regarding Begum’s alleged threat to the UK. Begum could not regain British citizenship following this ruling, despite the fact that there was a “credible suspicion that Ms Begum was recruited, transferred and then harboured for the purpose of sexual exploitation,” according to Justice Jay, who is hearing the case.
The case now faces the Court of Appeal. Before Lady Chief Justic, Lord Justice Bean and Lady Justice Whipple, Begum’s legal team have argued that the Home Office was “required to consider . . . legal obligations” owed to victims of trafficking when revoking her citizenship. They claimed that these “were mandatory, relevant considerations in determining whether deprivation was conducive to the public good” and that not doing so was “irrational.”
The hearing is set to last three days, concluding on Thursday. The court is expected to hand down a decision at a later date.