March 3, 2021


Shamima Begum, who ran away from London as a 15-year-old, was officially unable to restore her citizenship on Friday. She departed the United Kingdom as a teenager to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Begum, who left for Syria in 2015, is now 21 years of age.

Shamima Begum’s Background

In 2015, three UK schoolgirls traveled to Syria to join ISIS. The three girls, who included Begum, were all teenagers in the United Kingdom. ISIS leadership persuaded them to come to the country.

ISIS was able to target the three teenagers and other young Muslim women to the country because of a superior recruiting tactic. The message utilized by ISIS leadership appeals to Muslim girls who feel like they do not fit into western society because of their religion.

Once recruited girls arrive in the Middle East and join ISIS, they are abused and used for their ability to have children and fight for the extremist group. Begum’s family did not know what was occurring with their daughter until it was too late.

Once Shamima Begum arrived in the Middle East, she realized that she did not want to stay in the country. She fled ISIS control to a refugee camp in Syria, where journalists discovered her location.

Begum’s Desire to Regain UK Citizenship

On Friday, the United Kingdom Supreme Court ruled that Shamima Begum was banned from regaining citizenship in the country. Lawmakers labeled her as a threat to the United Kingdom due to her ISIS ties.

Journalists found Begum in Syria, and her message was that she had a desire to return to the United Kingdom. Former UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked her citizenship, and she was denied the right to return to the country.

Begum’s lawyers appealed this decision by Javid, and the case made it to the country’s Supreme Court. Begum’s lawyers argued that she did not receive a free trial because it took place while she was in the Syrian refugee camp.

The United Kingdom Supreme Court ruled that a right to a fair trial does not overrule homeland security. Public safety is the country’s main priority, so Begum did not have the right to preside in court for her trial.

Justice Robert Reed, the Supreme Court president, stated that “there is no perfect solution to a dilemma of the present kind.” He went on to say that it’s not worth postponing the trial as it could be a long time before she can be present in court.

Criticism Over the Decision

The decision by the Supreme Court leaves Begum without a place of residency. She is not a citizen in Syria, and her right to citizenship was revoked in the United Kingdom. Liberty, the human rights group, announced that this decision creates a dangerous precedent.

ISIS will continue to attack persuadable girls to venture to the UK. The court’s precedent will stand in other cases that resemble Begum’s trial in the future unless it’s overridden in a new trial. It’s rare to see precedent changed in law.

Begum’s lawyers stated that someone should never lose the right to a free trial, so they were very disappointed with the Supreme Court.

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