‘Islamic State bride’ loses appeal against the removal of her UK citizenship

A woman who travelled to Syria as a teenager to join the Islamic State group lost her appeal Friday against the British government’s decision to revoke her UK citizenship.

Shamima Begum, who is now 24, was 15 when she and two other girls fled from London in February 2015 to join the jihadist group at the time when its online recruitment program was luring many impressionable young people to its self-proclaimed caliphate.

Begum married a Dutch man fighting for the Islamic State and had three children, all of whom died.

Authorities withdrew her British citizenship in 2019 soon after she surfaced in a Syrian refugee camp, where she has been ever since. Last year, Begum lost her appeal against the decision at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a tribunal which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone’s British citizenship on national security grounds.

Her lawyers brought a further bid to overturn that decision at the Court of Appeal, with Britain’s Home Office opposing the challenge.

The judges dismissed her case.

Delivering the ruling, Chief Justice Sue Carr said the court was not tasked with decideing whether the decision to strip Begum of her British citizenship was “harsh” or whether she was the “author of her own misfortune”, and that its job was to assess whether the decision to strip Begum of her citizenship was unlawful.

“Since it was not, Ms Begum’s appeal is dismissed,” the judge added.

Begum’s lawyer indicated that a further challenge was on the cards.

“I think the only thing we can really say for certainty is that we are going to keep fighting,” Daniel Furner said outside the Royal Courts of Justice.

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