Shamima Begum to find out next week if she can potentially return to the UK

Shamima Begum
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Shamima Begum will find out if she can potentially return to the UK to pursue an appeal against the removal of her British citizenship when the Supreme Court gives a ruling on her case next week.


Begum was 15 when she and two other east London schoolgirls travelled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group (IS) in February 2015. Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

Begum, now 21, is challenging the Home Office’s decision to remove her British citizenship and wants to be allowed to return to the UK to pursue her appeal.

Shamima Begum court appeal
CCTV of the three schoolgirls leaving the UK (Met Police/PA)

In July last year, the Court of Appeal ruled that “the only way in which she can have a fair and effective appeal is to be permitted to come into the United Kingdom to pursue her appeal”.

The Home Office challenged that decision at the Supreme Court in November, arguing that allowing her to return to the UK “would create significant national security risks” and expose the public to “an increased risk of terrorism”.

Read on...

The UK’s highest court will give a judgment on 26 February as to whether Begum should be granted leave to enter the UK to pursue her appeal against the deprivation of her British citizenship.

The Supreme Court will also rule on whether, if Begum is refused leave to enter the UK, her appeal against the removal of her British citizenship should be allowed.

Shamima Begum Supreme Court hearing
The remote hearing was heard at the Supreme Court (Yui Mok/PA)


At the hearing in November, her lawyers said Begum was currently in the al-Roj camp in northern Syria, where conditions are “dire”. Lord Pannick QC told the court that the Syrian Democratic Forces, which control the al-Roj camp, “do not permit visits from lawyers nor do they permit detainees to speak to lawyers”.

He said the case against Begum was “no more than that she travelled to Syria and ‘aligned with IS’”, and that “it is not alleged that she fought, trained or participated in any terrorist activities, nor that she had any role within IS”.

Lord Pannick added that if Begum could not return to the UK to pursue an effective appeal “the deprivation appeal must be allowed”, as there is “no other fair or just step that can be taken”.

James Eadie QC, representing the Home Office, told the court:

If you force the Secretary of State to facilitate a return to the UK, or if you allow the substantive appeal, the effect is to create potentially very serious national security concerns.

He said of Begum:

She married an IS fighter, lived in Raqqa, the capital of the self-declared caliphate, and remained with them for about four years until 2019, when she left from, in effect, the last pocket of IS territory in Baghuz.

Eadie argued that individuals who went to Syria to join IS pose a “real and serious” risk to national security “whatever sympathy might be generated by the age of the person when they travelled”.

Shamima Begum court appeal
Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase at Gatwick airport, before their flight to Turkey in February 2015 (Metropolitan Police/PA)


Begum and Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, then 16 and 15 respectively, boarded a flight from Gatwick Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, on 17 February 2015, before making their way to Raqqa in Syria.

Begum claims she married Dutch convert Yago Riedijk 10 days after arriving in IS territory, with her school friends also reportedly marrying foreign IS fighters. She told the Times in February 2019 that she left Raqqa in January 2017 with her husband, but her children, a one-year-old girl and a three-month-old boy, had both since died.

Her third child died in the al-Roj camp in March 2019, shortly after he was born.

The Supreme Court’s decision will be announced at 9.45am on Friday 26 February.

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  • Show Comments
    1. What is the UK Govt REALLY afraid of? It is not one little girl.

      It is what she might know. No, not about bombs, or other ‘terrorism’ knowledge.

      But about what she might know about MI5 & 6’s role in the organisation she joined, ISIS.

      THIS is the unmentionable fear that explains all this hysteria.

      It also indicates they haven’t managed to bribe, or blackmail her into silence.

      Sounds like exactly the kind of person who SHOULD be back giving evidence to enquiries; wouldn’t you say?

      And not while under State custody/threats.

      If the UK can handle having a factual WAR CRIMINAL like B’Liar strolling around freely, it can surely handle Shemima Begum as well.

    2. Interesting concept that Begum actually knew something about the UK relationship with Isis that the govt do not want revealed. I had felt she was just a dim misguided teenager but perhaps there is more to this than we might think?

    3. She was groomed. When it’s a white English girl who is groomed, supposedly in circumstances different from when white English groom children – with or without decades of habitual assistance and protection from the English police and legal system – newspapers and social media are flooded with exactly that representation.

      She was able to be groomed as much by the racist culture of the country she grew up in as by any individuals who vocalised the grooming. The grooming could not ‘take’, in a fair and civilised society. radicalisation leads ot awful deeds, but it also begins with awful deeds that are a protected norm.

      My first girlfriend had been trafficked and prostituted in her late teens. What the government is doing with Shamima is the equivalent of labelling my ex for life with the most harsh term some might apply to a brief period of my ex’s life, asserting that it is her nature, freely chosen, and seeing that that perception is naturalised. (In court that is exactly what was done to my ex, more than once and in several ways, wrecking her potential to return to education and mental health – if Shamima is able to return we should be watchful of what is done next and how the would-be authorities, media and public might recreate the conditions to re-enflame radicalisation. If I put fat and salt in heaps into my body my blood and organs can’t simply choose to still thrive.)

      1. All this is true. Recall Andrew Neil’s utter panic on his This Week show a few years back, upon faced with the observation that UK FOREIGN POLICIES (such as near-genocidal wars in Iraq) also had a hand in creating “radicalisation”. It took John Prescott to point out that this was a commonsensical position, and was not in itself ‘proof of radicalisation’, as the corporate media was portraying it at the time.

        That literally every single measure and policy both the New Labour and Tory regimes took was clearly designed to create and promote radicalisation in ‘minority communities’; is a great unmentionable for most of the lamestream churnacracy.

        One reason for that panic is however, because it is the first step to seeing what lies beyond. Which is the deep – and many decades long – connection between UK Intel, and Sunni extremists and terrorists. And needless to say the Gulf dictatorships that sponsor, train and arm such groups.

        The story of ISIS came to be born is very instructive in the role that spy agencies play in self-destructing societies from within.

        Interestingly enough, Iraqis themselves seem to have worked it out…

        Yes, she was groomed. And by a well resourced, professional organisation, with lots of expertise in what life is like for British Muslims in the early 21st century, and with professional media and social media skills. Like whoever is behind the ‘White Helmets’ too, lol.

        But the sad truth is, what actually could she know – let alone prove? Clearly she knows SOMETHING for the UK regime to feel panicked about, and it’s not some arcane bomb making technique that ISIS taught to young mothers, which could probably be googled in 30secs if you were so minded. Lol.

        “Groomed” indeed. The British State has NEVER been a ‘force for good’; and it seems that hasn’t changed after B’Liar, and all the “Liberal Interventionism”. Makes Imperialism sound all cuddly though. :/

    4. These days I don’t even know what’s far-fetched or extreme. I am glad to have such a site as this and to know there are allies of various hues out there. I feel increasingly isolated and even partial agreement in a virtual place like this is an appreciated flicker of warmth.

      I read that article, and despite sympathy and being able to appreciate a country living a mind horrible trauma founded on atrocity after atrocity, that those around me helped fund, most of them willingly, there does seem to be a conceivably anti-Semitic strand to the beliefs of the ordinary Iraqis referred to. I am very unwell with PTSD and long-lived experiences that make the Covid period almost trivial, but I am still maintaining just about to keep a straight head. I don’t come down on any side when there are faults in the thinking, and that partly comes from having to sift so carefully through my own these days. I can go from Gandhi to Charles Manson and back in seconds mentally at the moment, it’s exhausting.

      I can appreciate that people in the thick of awful violence that England and America have had some kind of hand in will entertain ideas that white 35-year-olds in Dartford might. Most of the people I’ve known and befriended have some terrible ideas born of trauma, child abuse, rape, the lot. They are trying to get the poison out without self-awareness.

      I am _open_ to all kinds of would-be conspiracy-type ideas; but open, no more, no less – not at all easily amenable to them and especially not a soup of them. What I argued doesn’t seem any kind of stretch – for someone who went to a state school, lives in a small town, has seen the workings in the margin – and doesn’t involve relying on any documents or testament that would involve leaps of faith and arbitrary trust.

      What the Israeli government does is appalling, and that it does so with media assistance from the UK and America is appalling but there is far too much emphasis on that one country for there to be no genuine problem of anti-Semitism to be watchful of, in others and potentially or actually in ourselves. There are dozens of countries to criticise with the same heat Israel gets – something else must be behind why.

      My parents are pushing 80 and are utterly clueless about the nature of the country we live in, and I am more sad and angry about this than I ever was, to the point of being sick of being near them, in person, by email or on the phone. What they say and think and buy makes me unwell. But, if I don’t choose my own beliefs with as much care as I can, no matter how much I diverge from them culturally, to be 80 myself one day and side-tracked into a parody of a leftism I chose and have nurtured for 35 years would be just as tragic.

      1. Why the change in your name, p4tr1ck?

        And am I supposed to be scared of the ‘antisemitism psyop’, like so many Lefties have fallen victim to?

        To start with, I’m sorry you have PTSD. I genuinely am. We should live in global communities that work to reduce such experiences that cause them. As you probably can work out, both Iraqi and Palestinian communities are at 100% PTSD levels, and have been for generations. Imagine living under Nazi German occupation, where the occupiers can murder with impunity – that is what life was like for Iraqis under the Bush regime. It hasn’t particularly improved since. Gazans are literally being starved to death deliberately, while the ‘International Community’ wrings their hands like they did under the genocidal Iraqi Sanctions beforehand. And they can be assassinated at any point, ‘collateral damage’ is apparently a bonus.

        Those entire communities have PTSD. Can you imagine what it is like for them? Having 24hr enemy warplanes flying overhead, along with assassin drones?

        Now, that “Conspiracy theorist” almost-warning; paranoid as well as racist, I really am f*cked up, right? ;D

        Better to turn the whole matter around, and say that following Robert Anton Wilson;

        “Everybody who has ever worked for a corporation knows that corporations conspire all the time. Politicians conspire all the time, pot-dealers conspire not to get caught by the narcs, the world is full of conspiracies. Conspiracy is natural primate behavior.”

        Think about that.

        “Conspiracy is just another name for coalition. ”

        “Horror is the natural reaction to the last 5,000 years of history.”

        Personally, I am no more afraid of the ‘conspiracy theory’ psyop than I am of the ‘antisemitism psyop’ – no more, and no less.

        Humans are mammals, and behave as mammals do. Just with a ton more self-justifications. 🙂

        Would the elites who consider us their cattle do such things? Of COURSE some of them would. There was a clear advantage to a small group with interests in the region, to having a tarbaby magnet honeypot trap terrorist group dressed up as ‘freedom fighters’, open to being manipulated at every level. Most of the Western “extremists” who joined IS were not actually very religious. They were political.

        [Did something just click? 😉 ]

        It is not “paranoid” to wonder about such matters, even if it turns out ISIS was actually run by aliens stationed on Mars. Actually, it is dangerously naive and a dereliction of your democratic citizens duty NOT to ponder upon such matters. Skip the Mars thing.

        Despite popular unexamined myths, those with power rarely use it for the benefit of everyone.

        And the horrors of the British state should not be forgotten, in any attempt to honeywash our history by misinterpreting WW2:

        “A parody of leftism” des sound truly horrible, and you are probably right to rey to avoid that.

        BTW, those “other countries” you mentioned – do they also get the latest US advanced killing machines for free, along with $Bns every year, and get called “democracies”, and whose leaders are treated with respect in global media? Yeah. So that’s your mystery solved. Might have something to do with having vast stockpiles of illegal WMDs as well, I shouldn’t be surprised.

        I look forward to seeing how you’ll spell your name in your reply, and what new threats against nonconformity I will be issued with.

        “Heresy”? :’D

        1. I had emailed The Canary about a recent bug in the commenting system whereby the username we chose at the point of enrollment seemed to be ignored in favour of the name we signed up with. (This had not been the case with the first commenting account I had here in 2019, which is why some might not have experienced the bug – it’s recent.) I had shut down a previous account for safety reasons based on this bug. It seems to have been corrected, in the last few days, and I’m assuming that’s why the username rather than my given name is now what is visible. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in having concerns about this, especially given the nature of this site and our allegiances – I was targeted by an obvious far right activist on the Next Door website last year, a site which seems all cosy and neighbourly but which seethes with the worst of social media.

          I have tried to be precise regarding anti-Semitism and my position on it. It is both a real problem in society, in the world, and in The Labour Party here, among people who are otherwise allies, and equally it has also been weoponised and used dishonestly and disgracefully by anti-left people of Jewish heritage and their devious allies, and this matter would have been what wrecked, for one local example, my nieces’ and nephews’ future, even if Brexit and Covid hadn’t happened. I don’t think this can even begin to be dealt with – short on hope though I am that it ever will be – without synthesis of argument rather than dismissing half of it, and surely that is the model for progress in perception on any topic.

          I have no problem understanding that my case of PTSD is less severe, is better managed for the time being, than that of anyone in the thick of the bloodiest trauma across the world, and my own instance of it helps me understand and truly see others’, including women in this country who’ve suffered assault and rape who have been further traumatised by the police and legal system in circumstances similar to but worse than my own. I’m interested in intergenerational trauma, also, present in the Iraqis of course and in people I’ve met from former Communist countries and in two instances Jewish people. I am in the thick of an experience that is happening in one town but that exemplifies and is fed by the systemic corruption of a nation and one that has repeatedly played a part in the creation of intergenerational trauma across the world. It all fits together in a horrifying fashion.

          I’m already a loner and a pariah, but if I spoke openly about what I now know in the small town I live in, as a result of corrupt actions by the local police and local government – including the local Labour Party willingly working in cahoots with Tories to cover up fraud – I’d be in hospital or dead in no time, and am seen as paranoid and ‘mad’ as people who should know better have glibly called me, in their spotless expensive shoes.

          So I don’t think we’re altogether at odds. Hopefully it’s a good thing that I am keen not to shake off one fudamentalism, one collective psychosis, only to swap it for another dogmatism that would be no better.

    5. Well well well well well. “What do we have here, then?”

      “Thu Mar 12, 2015 / 2:24 PM EDT
      British girls were helped into Syria by spy from U.S.-led coalition
      Tulay Karadeniz

      British teenage girls Shamima Begun, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana (L-R) walk through security at Gatwick airport before they boarded a flight to Turkey on February 17, 2015, in this combination picture made from handout still images taken from CCTV and released by the Metropolitan Police on February 22, 2015.
      Reuters/Metropolitan Police/Handout via Reuters
      Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu leaves Kocatepe Mosque after Friday prayers in Ankara August 29, 2014.
      Reuters/Umit Bektas

      ANKARA (Reuters) – A spy who worked for a country in the U.S.-led coalition that is fighting Islamic State had helped three British girls to cross into Syria to join the militants and has been caught, the Turkish foreign minister said on Thursday.

      The minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told broadcaster A Haber in an interview: “He was caught. It turned out to be someone who works for the intelligence of a country from the coalition.”

      He didn’t say which country the spy was working for, but said it was not the European Union or the United States. The coalition also includes countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Australia and Canada.

      A European security source familiar with the case of the three girls said the person in question had a connection with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) spy agency.

      A Canadian government source in Ottawa said the person was not a Canadian citizen and was not employed by CSIS. The source did not respond when asked whether the person had been working for CSIS.”

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