LONDON, Feb 22 (PTI) – A 15-year-old schoolgirl who fled the UK to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terror network lost her legal bid for British citizenship in a specialist court on Wednesday and returned to the country.
London-born Shamima Begum, 23, was before the Special Immigration Appeals Committee (SIAC) against then Home Secretary Sajid Javid in 2019 on national security grounds challenged the decision to revoke his British citizenship.
Judge Robert Jay ruled that concerns raised by her lawyers about her “sexual exploitation” and breaches of duty by certain state agencies did not override the Home Secretary’s legal responsibility to make a national security decision to strip Begum of her British citizenship.
“Those advising the secretary of state see it as a black and white issue, and there is some truth to the argument that many would say there are gray areas,” Judge Jay said.
“It seems to me and my colleagues that even a 15-year-old … someone who is bright, articulate and presumably critical thinkers cannot imagine that they don’t know what (Islamic State) is. In some ways , I do believe that she knew what she was doing and had agency in doing so,” the judgment stated.
The British government claims Begum could apply for a Bangladeshi passport given her ancestry, but her family argues that she is British and has never held Bangladeshi citizenship.
The expert tribunal acknowledged that Javid’s conclusion to revoke his British citizenship was “an integral part of the overall national security assessment carried out by the Security Service” and therefore had no jurisdiction to deal with it.
“If asked to assess all the circumstances of Begum’s case, reasonable persons knowledgeable of all relevant evidence would differ, particularly on the question of the extent to which her travel to Syria was voluntary and the weight given to her given the background of all others, ’” Judge Jay pointed out.
“Similarly, reasonable people will see differently about the threat she posed to UK national security in February 2019, and how that should be balanced against all offsetting considerations. However, under our constitutional settlement, These sensitive issues are for the secretary of state to evaluate, not for the committee to evaluate,” he said.
Begum, known as the ISIS bride for her marriage to a Dutch member of the Syrian terror network, had three children — all of whom died. In 2015, she and two teenage girls from Bethnal Green Academy traveled from east London to Syria.
During a five-day SIAC hearing last November, Begum’s lawyers said she was “recruited, transported, transferred, harbored and received in Syria for the purpose of ‘sexual exploitation’ and ‘marriage’ to an adult male.” “.
Judge Jay found there was a “credible suspicion” that Begum was a victim of trafficking into Syria.
“The motive for bringing her to Syria was sexual exploitation and as a child she was unable to give valid consent,” he told a brief hearing on Wednesday.
However, the committee ultimately concluded that the home secretary had not formally asked to consider whether Begum was a victim of human trafficking when she revoked her citizenship.
The Home Office welcomed the ruling, saying in a statement: “We are delighted that the court has upheld the government’s position in this case.
“The Government’s priority remains maintaining the safety and security of the UK and we will strongly defend any decision taken to this end.”
Last year, the UK Supreme Court upheld a decision banning the now 23-year-old from returning to the UK. Begum, currently living in a detention camp in northern Syria, has been trying to return to her home in east London, claiming the only law she broke was traveling to Syria and not taking part in any ISIS atrocities.
Her legal team said it planned to launch a further challenge to restore her British citizenship.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)