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Daesh bride loses battle to keep British citizenship

February 7, 2020 at 7:51 pm

Shamima Begum, 19-year-old British teenager who joined Daesh in Syria in 2015 [Twitter]

Shamima Begum, a UK woman who joined Daesh/ISIS in 2015 as a teenager, on Friday lost the first stage of her appeal against the British Home Office’s decision to strip her of her British citizenship, Anadolu reports.

Dubbed a “Daesh bride” for having left the UK to marry a member of the terror group, the British-born Shamima Begum lost the first stage of her court appeal against the British Home Office’s decision to strip her of British citizenship.

Fifteen years old at the time of her departure from London, Begum is of Bangladeshi origin. Before the decision, she held citizenship of the UK but not Bangladesh.

She lived in Daesh-controlled areas for three years, marrying a Dutch foreign fighter. She is now 20 and resides in the al-Roj camp in Syria close to the Iraqi border.

Her case took place in a special, partly-secret court called the Special Immigration Appeals Commission that deals with appeals against British government decisions to strip a citizen of their citizenship for national security reasons.

READ: HRW urges Tunisia to repatriate children of Daesh suspects 

Though Begum’s lawyers assert that the government’s decision made her stateless, which is illegal according to both international and UK law, the tribunal disagreed and upheld the government decision.

The government argued that as Begum is of Bangladeshi origin, she is thus eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship by descent under that country’s law, and thus cannot be considered stateless.

Begum’s lawyers also said the conditions in the camp she currently lives in contravene with her human rights, and that depriving her of her citizenship would abandon her there.

However, the government holds that her being in the camp was a consequence of her decision to join Daesh rather than its decision on her citizenship.

Begum’s lawyers have announced that they would appeal against the decision, with the possibility of the case making its way up to the Supreme Court.