(BBC)

In a development spanning five years, Shamima Begum, the former British citizen, has been embroiled in a protracted legal battle regarding her citizenship status. Stripped of her citizenship after leaving the UK at the age of 15 to join ISIS, Begum’s efforts to return to England faced a setback in 2023. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that the suspicion of her being trafficked to Syria was deemed insufficient for a successful appeal.

Previously, in February of the same year, Judge Mr. Justice Jay acknowledged a “credible suspicion” of Begum being a trafficking victim. However, the Home Secretary was not formally required to consider this when revoking her citizenship. Begum, along with her friends from Bethnal Green Academy, left for Syria in 2015, ignoring warnings about the dangers. She married an ISIS member, Yago Riedijk, and had three children who later died.

After being found in a Syrian refugee camp in 2019, her British citizenship was revoked, and she was banned from entering the UK due to being perceived as a threat. In a 2019 interview, Begum admitted being drawn to ISIS’s promise of a ‘good life,’ mentioning the appeal of not only the fighting videos but also videos depicting families in a park.

Legal battles ensued, with the Court of Appeal allowing her to return in 2020, but the Supreme Court overturned this in 2021, citing national security concerns. In 2021, Begum was photographed in a Syrian detention camp with a transformed appearance, stating her decision to stop wearing the hijab.

Despite losing a challenge in February 2023, Begum’s legal team expressed intent to continue challenging the decision, deeming it a “lost opportunity to reverse a profound mistake and a continuing injustice.” In October 2023, she appealed again, asserting that the Home Office had not considered her legal rights as a potential trafficking victim, deeming the decision ‘unlawful.’

Reports in March indicated that Begum regretted her decision and was in Kurdish custody in Syria, expressing a willingness to face terror charges in a British court instead of returning to ISIS. The complex legal and personal journey of Shamima Begum continues to unfold, with ongoing challenges to the decisions regarding her citizenship.

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