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Shamima Begum’s British citizenship removal was ‘unlawful’, Court of Appeal hears | UK News

The decision to remove Shamima Begum’s British citizenship was “unlawful”, a court has heard, as her latest appeal against the decision begins.

Ms Begum travelled to Syria in 2015 to join Islamic State, when she was aged 15, and her UK citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found in a refugee camp in February 2019.

Earlier this year, Ms Begum, now 24, lost a challenge against the decision at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), meaning she would not be able to return to the UK.

Delivering the ruling in February, Mr Justice Jay said that while there was “credible suspicion that Ms Begum was recruited, transferred and then harboured for the purpose of sexual exploitation”, this did not prevent then-home secretary Sajid Javid from removing her citizenship.

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Shamima Begum lost a previous appeal against the decision

At the Court of Appeal in London on Tuesday, her lawyers began another bid to overturn the decision – which the Home Office is opposing.

Her legal team claims the Home Office failed to consider the legal duties owed to Ms Begum as a potential trafficking victim.

Samantha Knights KC said in written submissions: “[Ms Begum’s] trafficking was a mandatory, relevant consideration in determining whether it was conducive to the public good and proportionate to deprive her of citizenship, but it was not considered by the Home Office.

“As a consequence, the deprivation decision was unlawful.”

Addressing the SIAC’s conclusion that there were “arguable breaches of duty” by state bodies including the Metropolitan Police, Tower Hamlets council and Ms Begum’s school, Ms Knights said these “failures” could have been unlawful and contributed to Ms Begum being trafficked.

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Ms Begum was 15 when she left for Syria with two schoolfriends

Lawyers for the Home Office have told the court that the SIAC outcome was correct.

Sir James Eadie KC said in written submissions: “The fact that someone is radicalised, and may have been manipulated, is not inconsistent with the assessment that they pose a national security risk.

“Ms Begum contends that national security should not be a ‘trump’ card. But the public should not be exposed to risks to national security because events and circumstances have conspired to give rise to that risk.”

The hearing is expected to last three days with the decision to follow at a later date.

IS bride Shamima Begum’s appeal to restore UK citizenship to begin in London court | UK News

Shamima Begum’s appeal over the removal of her UK citizenship for joining Islamic State begins in a London court today.

She ran away from her London home as a 15-year-old with two other girls in 2015, ending up in Syria and marrying one of the terror group’s fighters.

Ms Begum was found pregnant in a Syrian detention in 2019 and her citizenship was revoked for national security reasons.

She’s set to base her appeal on claims that she was a victim of child trafficking because she was allegedly smuggled into Syria by a Canadian spy.

The claims were made in a book that said a double agent got them into the country and that his role was covered up by police and the UK government.

Her appeal will be heard by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission and is expected to last five days.

Ms Begum has denied involvement in any terror activities when she was living in Islamic State’s former heartland.

The UK Supreme Court last year denied her permission to return to the UK to challenge the stripping of her citizenship in person.

She remains imprisoned in a camp in northern Syria.

In 2019, she told Sky News she was “just a housewife for the entire four years” she was with IS and claimed she “never did anything dangerous” or encouraged others to join.

Last year, in another Sky interview, she said she wanted to go on trial in the UK and invited British officials to question her in prison.

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‘I didn’t hate Britain, I hated my life’ – Begum

However, a succession of Conservative home secretaries have insisted she is a potential danger and should not be allowed back in the UK.

Her lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, previously said in a statement that “one of the main arguments will be that when former home secretary Sajid Javid stripped Shamima Begum of her citizenship leaving her in Syria, he did not consider that she was a victim of trafficking”.

“The UK has international obligations as to how we view a trafficked person and what culpability we prescribed to them for their actions,” Mr Akunjee added.

The other girls who left for Syria with Ms Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, are believed to be dead.