ISIS bride Shamima Begum — the British woman who fled to Syria to join the terror group in 2015 and quickly married one of its fighters – lost her bid Friday to return to the UK to fight for the restoration of her citizenship because she poses a security risk.
A unanimous ruling by Britain’s Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Court of Appeal last year, which had held that Begum must be allowed to return so she can have a fair appeal in her case.
“The right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public,” said Robert Reed, the president of the Supreme Court, Reuters reported.
“If a vital public interest makes it impossible for a case to be fairly heard, then the courts cannot ordinarily hear it,” he said, adding that Begum’s appeal should be put on hold until she can play an effective part in the case without endangering the public.
“That is not a perfect solution, as it is not known how long it may be before that is possible. But there is no perfect solution to a dilemma of the present kind,” he said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the ruling, his spokesman said, adding that the government’s priority was “maintaining our national security.”
The UK-born Begum, 21, was 15 when she took off with two other schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy in East London to join the terror group.
She married an ISIS fighter two weeks later and lived in Raqqa, the capital of the self-declared caliphate. In 2019, Begum turned at a refugee camp in Syria, where three of her children died.
She told reporters that she wished to return home, but former Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her citizenship months later, with its domestic intelligence agency considering her a security threat.
He argued that she was Bangladeshi by descent and could go there instead.
Begum is now in the Roj camp, run by Syrian Kurdish authorities, where UN rights experts said this month that conditions were “sub-human.”
Human rights groups said Britain had a duty to bring back Begum and others in similar situations, and prosecute them for any crimes they may have committed, rather than leaving them abroad.
“Abandoning them in a legal black hole – in Guantanamo-like conditions – is out of step with British values and the interests of justice and security,” Maya Foa, director of campaign group Reprieve, told Reuters.
With Post wires