Supreme Court Rules That Shamima Begum Cannot Return To UK

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

26 Feb 2021

The UK’s highest court ruled this Friday 26 February that Shamima Begum the then teenager who in 2015 fled to Syria to join ISIL (ISIS), should not be allowed to return to the country to challenge the decision.

Labelled as a security risk, Begum now 21 was stripped of her British citizenship in 2019 by then Home Secretary Sajid Javid. He argued at the time that Begum was eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship, the birth country of her parents.

International law forbids countries from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship.

The UK’s Court of Appeal previously agreed she could only have a fair appeal of Javid’s decision if she were allowed back into the country. But this new ruling by the UK’s Supreme Court overturned that decision in its unanimous ruling on Friday, meaning she will have to appeal the decision out of the country.

Begum became the topic of fierce debate in 2019 when she tried to make a return to her country of birth. Some see it as paramount to national security that would be terrorist or terrorist affiliates are barred from ever entering the country. Others believe they deserve to be put on trial in the country of their birth.

“There are no simple solutions to this situation, but any restrictions of rights and freedoms faced by this individual are a direct consequence of the extreme actions that she and others have taken,” Javid said in a statement posted on Twitter.

UK human rights group Liberty denounced the result.

“The right to a fair trial protects all of us. Stripping someone’s citizenship without due process sets a dangerous precedent,” the group Tweeted.