Shamima Begum loses first stage of British citizenship challenge

Former home secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her British citizenship, a decision Ms Begum's lawyers argued was unlawful as it rendered her stateless

Friday, February 7, 2020

Shamima Begum - one of three east London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State - has lost the first stage of a legal challenge against the decision to revoke her British citizenship.

Ms Begum, now 20, left the UK in February 2015 and lived under IS rule for more than three years.

She was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February last year.

Former home secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her British citizenship later that month, a decision Ms Begum's lawyers argued was unlawful as it rendered her stateless.

Last year, Ms Begum took legal action against the Home Office at the High Court and the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a specialist tribunal which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone's British citizenship on national security grounds.

The tribunal, led by SIAC president Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing, ruled on Friday that the decision to revoke Ms Begum's British citizenship did not render her stateless.

Ms Begum's lawyers had claimed that the "wretched and squalid" conditions in al-Roj - and in the al-Hawl camp from which Ms Begum was moved for her own safety in February - breached her human rights.

The tribunal found that "conditions in the al-Roj camp would breach the appellant's rights under Article 3" of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment.

But it said the decision did not breach the Home Office's policy on the extraterritorial application of human rights.

The tribunal added: "The appellant was in that situation as a result of her own choices, and of the actions of others, but not because of anything the Secretary of State had done."

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