Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK to take part in the legal challenge against the stripping of her British citizenship, senior judges have ruled.
The east London schoolgirl, now 20, travelled to Syria to join Islamic State in 2015 before being found nine months pregnant in a Syrian refugee camp in February last year.
The then Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked her British citizenship on national security grounds, prompting her to take legal action against the Home Office.
She claimed the decision was unlawful because it rendered her stateless and exposed her to a real risk of death or inhuman and degrading treatment.
The decision was ruled lawful in February by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) – which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone’s British citizenship on national security grounds – because Ms Begum was “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent” at the time.
However, the specialist tribunal also found that she could not “play any meaningful part” in her appeal against, meaning it would not be “fair and effective”.
Ms Begum was also denied the right to enter the UK to effectively pursue her appeal – which has today been overturned.
The Court of Appeal ruled that “the only way in which she can have a fair and effective appeal is to be permitted to come into the United Kingdom to pursue her appeal”.
Lord Justice Flaux – sitting with Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Singh – said: “Fairness and justice must, on the facts of this case, outweigh the national security concerns, so that the leave to enter appeals should be allowed.”
The judge also found that “the national security concerns about her could be addressed and managed if she returns to the United Kingdom”.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “This is a very disappointing decision by the court.
“We will now apply for permission to appeal this judgment, and to stay its effects pending any onward appeal.
“The Government’s top priority remains maintaining our national security and keeping the public safe.”
talkRADIO: Listen live