Shamima Begum: Ex-London schoolgirl's citizenship appeal to get underway

Shamima Begum in a Syrian refugee camp Credit: GMB

The latest hearing in Shamima Begum’s appeal against the removal of her British citizenship is due to begin on Monday.

Ms Begum was 15 when she and two other east London schoolgirls travelled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group in February 2015.

Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

Ms Begum is challenging the Home Office’s decision to remove her British citizenship and now faces a five-day hearing at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in London in the latest stage of her legal bid.

Her legal team previously appeared before the specialist tribunal in 2019, arguing the decision to strip Ms Begum of her British citizenship was unlawful as it rendered her stateless.

However, the tribunal ruled that, at the time her British citizenship was revoked, she was “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent” and was therefore not rendered stateless.

In July 2020, the Court of Appeal ruled “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”.

But in February 2021, the Supreme Court ruled Ms Begum should not be granted leave to enter the UK to pursue her appeal after the Home Office argued that allowing her to return “would create significant national security risks”.

Proceedings at SIAC have continued and at a preliminary hearing in June 2021, Ms Begum’s legal team said that the Home Office failed to consider whether she was “a child trafficked to, and remaining in, Syria for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced marriage”.

Monday’s hearing is due to begin in London at 10.30am.

ITV’s Global Security Editor, Rohit Kachroo, revisits the headlines surrounding Shamima Begum in a special podcast to ask ultimately, who is to blame?