Shamima Begum loses first stage of appeal against UK citizenship removal

Shamima Begum has lost the first stage of her appeal against the government’s decision to remove her UK citizenship.

She was one of three teenagers who fled to Syria back in 2015 to join Islamic State.

In February 2019 she was found in a Syrian refugee camp. Later that month, former home secretary, Sajid Javid, stripped her of her UK citizenship.

Under international law it is illegal to deprive nationals of citizenship if it would mean leaving them stateless.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission said she could instead turn to Bangledesh for citizenship.

However, Bangladesh’s ministry of foreign affairs said that Ms Begum was not a Bangladeshi citizen and there was no question of her being allowed into the country.

This brings us to her current appeal against the UK government.

Her lawyer, Daniel Furner, said his client would immediately initiate an appeal against the decision as a matter of ‘exceptional urgency’.

They are arguing that the move to revoke her citizenship is unlawful because it has left her stateless however the tribunal ruled that because she was a citizen of Bangladesh by descent at the time her citizenship was revoked she had not been left stateless.

Judge Doron Blum, announcing the decision of the tribunal, said that although there were concerns about how Ms Begum could take part in the proceedings in London, those difficulties did not mean the decision made by Mr Javid should be overturned.

The case will now move on to consider whether the government had legitimate national security grounds to bar Ms Begum from coming back to the UK.

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