Shamima Begum loses legal challenge against UK decision to revoke her citizenship over national security concerns

Shamima Begum, who left the UK to join ISIS in Syria when she was 15 years old, has lost her legal challenge over the decision to revoke her British citizenship on national security grounds.

Johnny Mercer, Veterans’ Affairs minister, stated that the decision to revoke her citizenship was made by the Home Secretary, and while she clearly represents a threat, there is information about the case that is not in the public domain.

Begum’s lawyers argued that the Home Office had a duty to investigate whether she was a victim of trafficking before stripping her of her citizenship.

However, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) ruled against her, with Mr Justice Jay stating that “reasonable people will differ” over the circumstances of her case, and that the issue of the extent to which her travel to Syria was voluntary and the weight to be given to that factor in the context of all others should be evaluated by the Secretary of State.

The tribunal heard that she was “recruited, transported, transferred, harboured and received in Syria for the purposes of ‘sexual exploitation’ and ‘marriage’ to an adult male”.

While the decision made Begum “de facto stateless”, with no practical right to citizenship in Bangladesh, the Home Office defended the Government’s decision, stating that people trafficked to Syria and brainwashed can still be threats to national security, and that Begum posed a risk to national security.

The Home Office has said it is “pleased” with the ruling.

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