Bethnal Green’s Shamima Begum loses appeal over UK citizenship removal

Shamima Begum, the former Isis bride, has lost an appeal against the removal of her British citizenship and will remain stateless.

Begum, 23, today lost an appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) against the removal of her citizenship in 2019. The commission decided the revocation was lawful, despite a ‘credible suspicion’ she was trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Begum, raised in Bethnal Green and a former student at Bethnal Green Academy, was recently featured in a BBC Sounds podcast detailing why she left the country to join Isis aged 15.

Islamic State (Isis) has been guilty of numerous terrorist attacks around the world, including the November 2015 Paris attacks that killed at least 130 citizens.

Begum left East London with two friends that year to travel to Syria but challenged Sajid Javid, the then-home secretary, and his decision to remove her citizenship in 2019.

The commission decided today that Javid’s decision, which came just a day after she was found in the Al-Hawl refugee camp in Northern Syria, was lawful.

Begum is now at the Al-Roj camp in North-East Syria, which she compared to a prison after facing limitless detention there.

In ‘The Shamima Begum Story’ podcast on BBC Sounds which came out on January 11, Begum said: ‘I’m not this person that they [the public] think I am.

‘I’m just so much more than Isis and I’m so much more than everything I’ve been put through,’ she said.

Even if the commission had revoked Javid’s decision, they would have had no power to determine if Begum could return to the UK.

Photo credit: Josh Baker, BBC

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