Proceedings have started in the Supreme Court on whether Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK to contest her citizenship deprivation case.
Begum, 21, was one of the three notorious east London schoolgirls who left the UK in February 2015 (when she was only 15) to join the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Syria.
Her two companions, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, were subsequently killed in Syria.
Begum was deprived of her British citizenship in February 2019 on the orders of then Home Secretary, Sajid Javid.
She is currently stranded at a Syrian refugee camp near the Iraqi border which is run by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces.
In July the Court of Appeal ruled that Begum can return to the UK to challenge the Home Secretary’s decision to revoke her British citizenship.
That was an important ruling as usually deprivation cases are managed remotely by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), which is often described as the UK’s most secretive court.
The Home Office is challenging the Court of Appeal’s ruling at the Supreme Court, where government barrister, Sir James Eadie QC argued on Monday (November 23) that Begum’s return to the UK “would create significant national security risks”.
The case is seen as a litmus test for many other deprivation cases, where the people involved are invariably stranded abroad and unable to fully participate in SIAC-related legal proceedings.
If Begum wins her case and is allowed to return to the UK to challenge the government’s deprivation decision that may well open the door for other people in similar situations.
Since 2012, 240 people have had their British citizenship revoked by the government on national security grounds.
UK citizenship deprivation orders— Lucy Fisher (@LOS_Fisher) October 2, 2020
20-29: X (less than 5... so must be 4 to total 240*)
70-79: X (* ditto)
Last year alone the Home Secretary stripped 82 people of British nationality, a 57 percent increase on 2018.
EXCL: British government stripped 82 people of citizenship last year, a 57% increase on 2018.— Lucy Fisher (@LOS_Fisher) October 2, 2020
FOI data reveals that 240 people have had citizenship revoked since 2012 in total (57 women, 183 men).
The oldest were at least 70.