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Disallowing Shamima Begum’s return to Britain during citizenship appeal ‘undermines the rule of law,’ civil liberties group warn

by Bethany Rielly

THE court’s decision not to allow Shamima Begum to return to Britain while appealing against the removal of her British citizenship “undermines the rule of law,” a civil liberties group has warned. 

The Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling today which had approved Ms Begum’s return to Britain — a decision made six years after the then 15-year-old travelled to Syria to join Islamic State. 

The young woman, who is now 21, had her citizenship revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in 2019.

She is challenging the Home Office’s decision and wants to come back to Britain to pursue her appeal. 

Initially, the Court of Appeal said she should be allowed to return to fight the case. But the Home Office appealed, with the Supreme Court now dismissing Ms Begum’s cross-appeal. 

Announcing the unanimous decision, Lord Reed said: “The right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public.”

Human rights group Liberty has warned that stripping someone’s citizenship without due process “undermines the rule of law and everyone’s right to a fair trial.”

Liberty lawyer Rosie Brighouse said: “If a government is allowed to wield extreme powers like banishment without the basic safeguards of a fair trial it sets an extremely dangerous precedent.”

In a statement after the ruling, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The government will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security and our priority remains maintaining the safety and security of our citizens.”

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