Islamic State supporter Shamima Begum blocked from returning to the United Kingdom
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Shamima Begum, the woman who left the UK when she was 15 to join ISIS, will be barred from returning to fight the government’s decision to strip her of citizenship, Britain’s highest court ruled on Friday.
The government blocked the return in 2019 of Ms Begum, now 21, claiming that she was a threat to national security and exposed the public to a greater risk of terrorism.
Ms Begum travelled with two other schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy in east London, to Raqqa, Syria, in February, 2015.
She married Dutch convert Yago Riedijk shortly after arriving in ISIS territory and the couple had three children, all of whom died in infancy.
They lived in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa for about four years before the group lost its grip on territory and she ended up in the Al Roj migrant camp where she is currently held in dire conditions by the Syrian Democratic Forces.
She wanted to return to Britain but Sajid Javid, who was home secretary at the time, removed her citizenship to block her return.
Ms Begum won a significant victory in a court appeal against the decision in July last year, prompting the government to seek a ruling from the country’s highest court.
Overturning the decision, Lord Reed, the president of the Supreme Court, said it “allows all of the home secretary’s appeals” that the previous ruling had made four key errors.
The judgment said the court had not addressed security concerns if she was allowed to return. The assessment of the home secretary also did not get “the respect which it should have received” given that he had responsibility for making those decisions.
Ms Begum, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, boarded a flight from London Gatwick Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, on February 17, 2015, before making their way to Raqqa. The three girls left only months after a school friend travelled to Syria.
In 2019, Ms Begum she told The Times newspaper that she did not regret travelling to Syria and was unfazed at seeing a severed head dumped in a bin.
The age of the travellers sharpened focus on efforts to prevent disaffected British Muslims from leaving the country to join ISIS amid fears of a generation of Britons becoming radicalised.
A number of fighters had their citizenship revoked as a dispute between countries continues over how best to handle ISIS activists still alive after defeat on the battlefield.
Ms Begum’s husband, who was last year being held in a Kurdish detention centre in north-east Syria, said he wanted to return to the Netherlands with his wife.
Source: The National News