Shamima Begum has lost the first stage of a legal battle against the Home Office’s decision to revoke her British citizenship – preventing her from returning to London.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) made the judgement on three grounds, one being that the now-20-year-old had not been improperly deprived of her citizenship.
Ms Begum left the UK in February 2015 and lived under Islamic State (IS) rule for over three years until she was found pregnant in a Syrian refugee camp last February.
The former Home Secretary Sajid Javid removed her British citizenship after she was discovered – a decision that her lawyers argued was unlawful because it rendered her stateless.
This most recent tribunal, which was led by SIAC president Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing, decided that the revocation did not leave her stateless.
According to Sky News, judge Doron Blum said the move did not breach the Home Office’s ‘extraterritorial human rights policy by exposing Begum to a real risk of death or inhuman or degrading treatment’.
He added that while she ‘cannot have an effective appeal in her current circumstances’, it ‘does not follow that her appeal succeeds’ on that ground.
During an October hearing, Ms Begum’s barrister Tom Hickman QC said that the situation in the camp she was being held was ‘incredible fragile and dangerous’ and he described the conditions – where her third child died last March – as ‘wretched and squalid’.
Mr Hickman QC went on to explain that preventing her from returning to the UK meant she had been left ‘abandoned’ but Jonathan Glasson QC, who was representing the Home Office, argued that she ‘was a Bangladeshi citizen by descent, in accordance with Bangladeshi law, and so was not rendered stateless by the deprivation decision’.
According to ITV, Mr Glasson QC, also submitted that she ‘has not been placed at risk of ill-treatment’ as a result of the decision to revoke her British citizenship.
Speaking to The Daily Mail from a camp in Syria last year, she said: “I have no real friends. I have lost all the friends who came with me. Now I do not have anyone.
“My mental health situation is not the best. My physical health is OK. I am still young and I do not get sick. That is not my problem. Mentally, though, I am in a really bad way. I need therapy to deal with my grief. It is so hard. I have lost all my children.
“None of the people I am living with in here know what I have experienced. They are not like my school friends who I could always talk to. They do not understand what I have been through.
“There is no mental health provision. I have heard that in other camps there is psychiatric help, but not here.”