Shamima Begum loses legal challenge to restore British citizenship

Begum was 15 when she travelled to territory controlled by Islamic State before being discovered heavily pregnant in a refugee camp.

Shamima Begum loses British citizenship legal challenge after fleeing to join Islamic State as teenager ITV

Shamima Begum has lost a legal challenge over the decision to deprive her of her British citizenship.

Ms Begum was 15 when she travelled from Bethnal Green, east London, through Turkey and into territory controlled by the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Her British citizenship was revoked shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

Ms Begum, now 23, brought a challenge against the Home Office over this decision at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a specialist tribunal which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone’s British citizenship on national security grounds.

Following a five-day hearing in November, the tribunal dismissed her challenge on Wednesday.

At the hearing last year, Ms Begum’s barristers Samantha Knights KC and Dan Squires KC said she was “recruited, transported, transferred, harboured and received in Syria for the purposes of ‘sexual exploitation’ and ‘marriage’ to an adult male”.

They also argued that the Home Office unlawfully failed to consider that she travelled to Syria and remained there “as a victim of child trafficking”.

However, Sir James Eadie KC, for the department, said the security services “continue to assess that Ms Begum poses a risk to national security”.

Sir James later said then-home secretary Sajid Javid took into account Ms Begum’s age, how she travelled to Syria – including likely online radicalisation – and her activity in the country, when deciding to remove her British citizenship.

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