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‘ISIS bride’ stripped of UK citizenship will have to appeal to secret immigration court

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Shamima Begum travelled from London to Syria to join the Islamic State group in 2015

📷:Shamima Begum – credit – BBC News

The British teenager controversially stripped of her UK citizenship by the government for joining Islamic State in Syria will have to appeal to a secret immigration court to get it back.

Shamima Begum, 19, hit the headlines last week after she was discovered in a Syrian refugee camp — along with a newborn baby. Begum fled to join the jihadi Islamic State group in 2015 along with two fellow schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy in East London. The government announced on Tuesday that it was taking her UK citizenship away as punishment.

In response, the Begum family’s lawyer said that they would be fighting the order.

The main legal issue in any appeal will be whether Begum has another citizenship to fall back on. Under the British Nationality Act 1981, the government can deprive even-British born citizens of their nationality if it is “conducive to the public good” — but only if they have another citizenship. Making someone “stateless” is against international and UK law.

A recent amendment clarified that “naturalised” British citizens — people who became a Brit as an adult — can have it taken off them even if they don’t have another nationality yet, but could get one. But this likely couldn’t apply to Begum, who is reportedly British born and bred.

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The government will likely argue that Begum is already Bangladeshi through her parents — whether she knows it or not. Immigration lawyer Fahad Ansari of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, who successfully represented two British-Bangladeshi men in a citizenship case last year, said that “UK citizens of Bangladeshi heritage, like Begum, automatically have Bangladeshi citizenship on birth”.

“However”, he added “if they do not make an active effort to retain that citizenship, it lapses when they reach the age of 21”. In Begum’s case: “It may be that as she is still under 21, her Bangladeshi citizenship technically remains intact. So she is not stateless by law. It does not matter if she does not hold a Bangladeshi passport, as holding a passport is distinct from the legal fact of citizenship.”

Colin Yeo, an immigration and nationality barrister at Garden Court Chambers, said that the government’s “notice of intention” to deprive Begum of her citizenship doesn’t actually kick in until she has had a chance to appeal.

The ins and outs of Bangladeshi nationality law would likely be fought over in a national security court called SIAC, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, rather than the regular immigration tribunal. Yeo said that “most public good based appeals will be appeals to SIAC, particularly appeals resulting in statelessness”.

Ansari added that in SIAC cases: “A large part of the allegations and evidence is presented to the judge in closed proceedings, meaning that neither the appellant nor his instructed lawyers are permitted to see it or even know about it, let alone try to challenge it.”

Begum, who gave birth to a British child just days ago, told ITV News that “I’m a bit shocked… It’s a bit unjust on me and my son”.

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64 Comments

PLegal

It’s a tough one.
On the one hand, we have a person shows no remorse but rather a slight arrogance (“it is a bit unjust on me”, “I was told it would be easy for me to come back to the UK”, “I can apply for a citizenship in Holland) coupled with a want to come back only because caliphate did not turn out to be all milk and honey and actually her life conditions worsened significantly. She is an opportunist and just seeing her being “a bit shocked” by the Home Office decision was a delight in itself (however badly it sounds).
On the other hand, it sets out a dangerous precedent which nevertheless is still very likely to be (successfully) challenged.

In the ideal world, she should be tried by the Syrian court as she committed crimes on their soil and against their country, however it is very unlikely given that the West did everything they could to create even more mess in this region, where no real state structures are currently present.

While a decision reached by Sajid is definitely widely seen as a popular one and I do see a substance to it (after all, people are in right saying that to throw taxpayers’ money to get this girl back and then to have her as a burden, in prison or elsewhere, is deeply unjust), from a legal viewpoint I am conflicted.

However this mess will end, I think it will have a major impact on the still developing rules on how to deal with (former) terrorist and/or members of terrorist groups.

(62)(1)

Anonymous

“In the ideal world, she should be tried by the Syrian court as she committed crimes on their soil”

Does anyone know what crimes, if any, she is actually alleged to have committed? All I can really find in media outlets is that she (i) went to live in Syria, (ii) married a fighter and (iii) sympathised with IS. It’s hard to see how any of these three things could be a crime (either in the UK or in Syria).

(3)(35)

Anonymous

Boo bleeding hoo!

Those who went out were given ample warning that they might not be allowed back in.

However you twist it, she’s not a victim, she has shown no remorse and just wants to come back for the benefits.

She’s entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship through her mother- perhaps there is a country in which the values will be more akin to those she espouses.

(28)(7)

Anonymous

F*ck you, Bangladesh is a beautiful country full of beautiful people. It is merely unfortunate that it is located on what is basically one big flood plain. You show real ignorance in suggesting that it shares values with those she affiliated herself with. How many Bangladeshis (actual Bangladeshis born/raised there) went to fight for ISIS vs how many British born/raiseds? Britain is worse than Bangladesh.

(11)(28)

Anonymous

That beautiful country is welcome to her.

(18)(5)

Anonymous

Membership (or claiming to be a member) of a prescibed organisation is a crime in the UK. As is expressing support for one. She appears to have admitted both.

(48)(0)

Anonymous

Interesting. Do you please have a link to an article where she claims to be a member of ISIS? Also, do you please have a link to the statutory provision which says it is illegal to express support for a proscribed organisation?

(0)(26)

Anonymous

Just Google it. s12 Terrorism Act 2000.

(25)(0)

Anonymous

Thanks.

But still, Section 12 appears to be about soliciting (rather than simply expressing) support for terrorism. As far as I can tell, this isn’t something she’s admitted to soliciting support for terrorism. In fact, quite the opposite (“I didn’t want to be an IS poster girl”).

(1)(16)

Anonymous

She made the trip with 2 other girls. In the circumstances I would have thought they geed one another up or, in other words, invited one another to support ISIS. Even if the ‘support’ argument didn’t stick there are huge number of offences under the 2000 and 2006 act that she could be charged with (just scroll through the index for a taste).

Also keep in mind that her admission isn’t required to find her guilty of a criminal offence. A jury just needs to be convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that she satisfies the requirements under the TA.

(11)(0)

bob the goat

Being a member of a proscribed terrorist organisation! Look it up!

(13)(0)

Anonymous

Anyone who opposes Shamima Begum’s right to return to the UK is racist, pure and simple.

(1)(82)

Anonymous

I’m afraid the credit limit on your Race Card was exceeded many years ago and it now has no purchasing power at the Faux Outrage store, or any other outlet in the Grievance Mall.

(47)(1)

Anonymous

Who’s sitting? Cornelius Fudge?

(7)(0)

Wombleby

Oh look friends, this is how many fucks do I give:

Keeep looking!

NONE.

(36)(5)

Anonymous

I think she should be stripped of everything she has. Dispicable woman.

(37)(6)

Anonymous

Scraping the barrel there mate…

(4)(2)

Anonymous

this made me howl

(0)(0)

JDP Partner

We call our trainees JDP Brides

(0)(0)

Brandon

It’s interesting that any Jewish British citizen can legally go to Israel, join the IDF, kill as many Palestinians as he or she likes, come back to the UK and live happily ever after and similarly any UK citizen can (and in fact did) go off to Syria, join the various Kurdish groups or the FSA and do god knows what and then return to the UK and (in one particular case) practice law.

(27)(41)

Eli

There is a difference between going and fighting a good war, and going and fighting for terrorists who behead people.

(21)(22)

Anonymous

The IDF conduct terrorist actions against Palestinian civilians all the time, often massacring entire villages and gunning down children. Obviously that’s not to say they are remotely equivalent to ISIS, but they’re still a brutal occupation force in illegally held territory. It’s not a “good war” unless you have literally no understanding of the situation or simply view Palestinians as subhuman.

(35)(25)

Anonymous

Yea yea how about no.

(6)(6)

Anonymous

Good point well made bruh

(5)(1)

Anonymous

This is so far from the truth it’s laughable.

Please provide one example of Israel “massacring entire villages and gunning down children”. Children may get caught in crossfire or be shot when posing a threat, which is obviously unfortunate, but they are never simply “gunned down”.

(12)(14)

Anonymous

Go away Jezza, even your own party hates you.

(27)(2)

Anonymous

It looks like Brandon is an expert on the IDF and its operational capabilities. Like many people he sees Israel/IDF as good or bad, there are apparently no shades of grey. The IDF does not massacre innocent civilians or kill children. I should know (considering I lived in the country). Globally, the obsession with Israel is remarkable. Yet not a peep from people about China and the Uyghurs, India and Kashmir, Russia and the Ukraine, Myanmar and the Rohingyas. I wonder why…

(20)(9)

Anonymous

Agree there’s a double standard, but comments like “the IDF does not massacre innocent civilians or kill children” do not help your case when they are objectively untrue. Having lived in Israel does not turn your wrong opinion into fact.

BTW I support the existence of Israel and recognise they are in a really tough position in terms of defence, but realistically Palestinians pose no genuine threat to Israelis any more whereas the IDF is responsible for all sorts of atrocities against Palestinians.

(19)(8)

Anonymous

I also volunteered in the IDF for a short period and was friends with people who served in the IDF (which is pretty much everyone in Israel). Does that work for you?

As to Palestinians posing a threat, are you referring to ordinary citizens or their leaders. Do Hamas pose a threat to Israel? Sending rockets over to South Israel does sound like a threat. The risk from low level knife attacks and car rammings is also a daily threat in Jerusalem. Perhaps you’d like Israel to wait until it’s really out of hand, before it sorts out its security arrangements?

Or how about Hizbullah in Lebanon (and now also Syria), just over the border? There is now a serious military build up in Syria, propagated by Hizbullah at the behest of Iran. With respect, you seem to understand half the problem but ignore the granular detail.

(11)(14)

Anonymous

How does it feel to have taken part in genocide?

(10)(10)

Anonymous

How many Palestinians were killed by Israel last year vs how many Israelis killed by Palestinians (especially unarmed Israelis)?

How many Palestinian homes were demolished last year and how many illegal Israeli settlements built on the occupied territory?

Who do you honestly think was more legitimately afraid for their lives during your time in the occupied territory as an IDF solider? You, or the average Palestinian?

Now regarding Lebanon and Syria – you do have more of a point given the free rein that forces there have to gather. I’m struggling to see how that justifies ripping down the homes of Palestinians and replacing them with violent radicalised Israeli settlers.

(10)(5)

Anonymous

You’ve made a few quantum leaps which perhaps are indicative of your reasoning here. I was a volunteer with the IDF and did not spend any time in “occupied territory” as you call it. But you never asked.

On the topic of settlements, do you know which biblical figure holy to both Judaism and Islam is buried in Hebron? Abraham. Does that perhaps show how the issue of settlements is confused (with no clear answer). Both religions have claims on the “occupied territory”.

In addition, Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 at huge cost. Within a few weeks, missiles rained down on South Israel. Can you blame them for being tough on security when concessions (including the Oslo Accords) are met with aggression from Palestinian leadership.

The Palestinians have been sold a lie by their leadership for years (i.e that Israel will eventually be erased from the map) . There is “no from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.

(8)(5)

Anonymous

The irony – you support an apartheid state yet cry racism

(8)(7)

Anonymous

An apartheid state where Arab Israelis are members of the Israeli Parliament, and have higher living standards than in the West Bank or Gaza? Give me strength…

(13)(1)

Anonymous

This 👆🏽

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I love Shamima.

No true Muslim is a terrorist.

All people are equal. But certain protected religions are more equal than others.

This comment has been approved by Legal Cheek Diversity and Inclusion Deparrment.

(39)(19)

Anonymous

Mr Akunjee’s strong points obviously do not include grammar or spelling.

Who is paying him for his tiresome interventions?

(8)(1)

Archbishop of Banterbury

Someone who ran off to join a terrorist organisation after being inspired by videos of people being decapitated complains about something being “unjust”. How ironic.

Cheerio Shamima, have a nice life (it just won’t be in the UK).

P.S. – We’ll look after the kid though if you can’t (which I suspect is the case).

(24)(5)

Anonymous

Downvote this comment if she should not be allowed back.

Upvote this comment if you think she should.

I’m anonymous, nothing to gain from your clicks – just want to see what LC readers actually think as most of you probably CBA to comment on these and prefer to just lurk.

(31)(345)

Anonymous

Struggling to give a fck tbh

She made her choice, she can own it

She had the choice between Western civilisation and advanced medical care or a murderous death cult committed to the overthrow of the Great Satan (USA) and the Lesser Satan (UK)

She did not chose wisely

(42)(1)

Anonymous

Alex has censored my comment, so I repeat.

She chose to abandon the UK for a terrorist death cult.

So let her rot.

(41)(6)

Anonymous

I agree.

She abandoned the UK for a terrorist death cult.

Why are we now supposed not to say things which are fact but are supposed to say things that are not fact (eg trans women are women)?

Why has truth become lies and lies become truth?

My head hurts!

(26)(3)

Davide

If this ISIS bride identifies as a white middle-aged male, then who are we to tell her she is not welcome?

(11)(3)

Anonymous

This story has dominated the news for about a week when it should be page 5 filler. It’s an easy decision to let her back in solely for a criminal trial and then lock her up. The kid can be adopted. Simple.

With 5 weeks until Brexit, the UK has better things to focus on.

(15)(3)

Anon

From the moment she left the UK, she knew what the consequences of leaving were.

Like another comment said, she’s an oppourtunist. If it wasn’t for ISIS beoming weaker and smalled and collapsing, she would not have wanted to come back. She only wants to return to the UK to use and abuse our healthcare and welfare.

At the end of the day she has no remorse for what she has done . her values do not align with people in the UK. yeah she might just be an ordinary house wife like she claims, but children are like sponges and absorb everything. that includes values and morals. take away her child too before she corrupts his mind

(19)(5)

Anonymous

What’s the rules with the baby?
Can the baby be taken off her?
Who can take the baby away from her?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Here comes the human rights lawyers with pound signs in their eyes and the crocodile tears

(12)(3)

Anonymous

Thanks for addressing it

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Put her in a cage, make her dance, feed her only raw meat. Within some dark, dingy underground nightclub where revellers throw shrapnel at her and drink glasses of pure sin.

(20)(4)

Anonymous

This is dark.

No.

I say:

She has shat her own bed- now she can lie in it.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

💩 🛏

💀

🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I don’t think the cage should have a bed. She will have to shit in the cage, of course.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Has she had a mental health assessment? What if she is special needs? She looks like she has the intellect of a 5 year old.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

I think that might be giving her too much credit…

(14)(0)

Sham Beg

Poor me!

Why is everyone being so mean to me!

I expected more sympathy!

I am entitled to more sympathy!(my lawyer said so).

I’m not sorry I went to Syria, but my side lost, so why can’t I come back to Britain.

My child needs to be supported and I’m entitled to benefits.

Why are my rights not being upheld? The UK should send a plane for me today and be glad that I will be back to enrich the country with my diverse world views.

(13)(0)

Anonymous

Begums can’t be choosers, as the old proverb goes.

(12)(0)

Anonymous

I’m a Muslim Brit, me and everyone I know all support Javid’s decision in this case.

She doesn’t deserve British citizenship! It is a privelege not a right.

disgusting, silly girl

(16)(0)

Anonymous

On the contrary, citizenship of the country you were born and raised in should be a right. The thing with rights, though, is that they can be taken away.

(4)(1)

15 years old?

lets not forget she was only 15, and most of the young females that went commented on a difficult home life. It does not make her actions right, but she was 15 leaving a home environment that we know nothing about.

Also she is surrounded by people when giving these interviews, so it may be unsafe for her to make any views that would anger them.

Just saying….

(3)(8)

Anonymous

Are you suggesting that she was abused?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I was about to applaud to quality of the comments on this article. The opening exchanges were insightful, well-reasoned and showed an awareness of the law that is often lacking on Legal Cheek …

Then I saw a succession of comments comparing the Israeli Army to ISIS. If these are genuine law students both a) making these comments; and b) endorsing them, then that’s a real concern.

Whatever your opinion on middle-eastern politics, to compare the two in this way is palpable nonsense.

(19)(3)

Anonymous

Welcome to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

(13)(0)

Abdul

For those saying she will be a burden she is more than welcome to a zero hours contract at my corner shop. With eyes like those footfall will triple over night.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Stupid teenagers who can be brainwashed to this extent must suffer the consequences! Why on earth were they allowed to travel alone to Turkey and then Syria at the age of 15? I’m not British and at 16 when I visited London on a school trip my parents had to sign for me to get on the plane accompanied by other adults. People saying that Muslims are being discriminated against – why don’t we hear about atheists from Northern Europe commuting terrorist crimes? Why do we hear about Muslims 9 out 10 times?

(2)(1)

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