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UK-born Shamima who joined IS loses appeal over citizenship

A British-born woman who went to Syria as a schoolgirl to join so-called Islamic State has lost her latest appeal over the removal of her British citizenship, report agencies.

Shamima Begum travelled to Syria in 2015 aged 15 and her citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

Last year, the now 24-year-old lost a challenge against the decision at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), which said the removal of her citizenship was lawful.

Shamima Begum’s lawyers brought a bid to overturn that decision at the Court of Appeal, with the UK Home Office opposing the challenge.

In a ruling on Friday morning, three judges dismissed Shamima Begum’s bid.

Giving the ruling, Chief Justice Sue Carr said: “It could be argued the decision in Shamima Begum’s case was harsh. It could also be argued that Shamima Begum is the author of her own misfortune.

“But it is not for this court to agree or disagree with either point of view.”

Chief Justice Sue Carr is seen giving her ruling

At the appeal hearing in October, Samantha Knights KC told the court the government had failed to consider the legal duties owed to Shamima Begum as a potential victim of trafficking or as a result of “state failures” in her case.

But James Eadie KC, for the Home Office, said the “key feature” of Shamima Begum’s case was national security.

He continued: “The fact that someone is radicalised, and may have been manipulated, is not inconsistent with the assessment that they pose a national security risk.”

In its ruling last year, the SIAC concluded there were “arguable breaches of duty” by state bodies – including the Metropolitan Police, Tower Hamlets Council and Shamima Begum’s school – in not preventing her from travelling to Syria.

Ms Knights told the Court of Appeal at the start of the three-day hearing these “failures” could have also been unlawful and contributed to Shamima Begum’s trafficking.

However, Mr Eadie said the SIAC was right to find there was “no direct connection between any potential failures, by other public authorities, in 2015” and ministers’ decision to deprive Shamima Begum of her citizenship.