UK Court Rejects Appeal of British Woman Who Joined ISIS as a Teen

A British woman who joined the Islamic State as a teen has lost her appeal to regain her UK citizenship. Shamima Begum, now 21, was born in the UK but left to join ISIS in 2015 when she was 15.

On Tuesday, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) rejected her appeal and ruled that she will remain stateless. The court said that allowing her to regain her citizenship would be “contrary to the public good” and that she had “not shown sufficient remorse for her actions.”

Begum was tracked down by journalists in a refugee camp in Syria in 2019, where she was living with her infant son. Her other two children had died in the camp.

The UK government stripped her of her citizenship that same year, arguing that she had the right to Bangladeshi citizenship through her mother. Begum’s lawyers argued that she was denied a fair hearing and that the government was punishing her for exercising her freedom of movement.

The SIAC rejected these arguments and said that the UK government’s decision was “reasonable” and “proportionate.”

The case has raised questions about how to deal with citizens who join extremist groups and the limits of the government’s power to remove citizenship. Human rights groups have criticized the government’s decision to strip Begum of her citizenship, arguing that it leaves her in a state of legal limbo and denies her the right to a fair trial.

Despite the court’s decision, Begum’s lawyer said that she will continue to fight for her right to return to the UK.