Shamima Begum 'is trying to remain current' says expert
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In February last year, the Supreme Court said the ISIS bride should not be able to return to the UK to pursue an appeal against the removal of her British citizenship. But now, in a landmark grooming case victory, Begum could return to Britain.
This week, a British schoolgirl, 16, had charges against her dropped after the Home Office ruled she had been exploited online.
The teenager had been accused of possessing instructions for homemade firearms and explosives.
But the case was dropped after officials accepted she had been sexually exploited.
It is claimed this landmark ruling now “strengthens” Begum’s case to return to the UK.
Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said: “Being both a victim of modern slavery and presenting a risk to the general public are not incompatible.
“If fewer criminal cases are going to be possible, this begs the question whether there are sufficient non-criminal justice measures in place, in particular, to deal with the terrorist risk presented by children.”
Tasnime Akunjee, who represents Ms Begum, said: “Shamima has been arguing this from the beginning.
“This just strengthens her case.”
After denouncing ISIS, Begum claimed she fears for her life and has pleaded to be allowed to return home.
Begum was stripped of her British citizenship having left the UK at the age of 15 and travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State group.
She lived within the terrorist group for three years before she was found.
The Home Office made the decision due to concerns over security if she returned to the UK.
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Last year, Begum said she did not leave Britain because she hated it but because she felt “very constricted”.
She also hit back at claims she committed atrocities with IS, suggesting they were “all completely false”.
Begum said: “I’m willing to fight them in a court of law but I’m not being given a chance.”
She claimed that she was groomed for “months and months” before she moved to Syria, and that she did not make the decision quickly.
Begum, now 22, challenged the decision in the Court of Appeal in 2020 after a tribunal had found the removal of her citizenship had been lawful.
Last year Government sources believed her lawyers may be planning to challenge the ruling.
A source told the Daily Telegraph: “Essentially her appeal over her citizenship is in limbo until such time as she can appear at a hearing.
“We think her lawyers will probably try to argue that the Government has to provide the facilities in order to enable such a hearing to happen.
“But the reality is that she is in a camp in north-east Syria which is extremely dangerous and has probably not got great phone reception.
“How could we facilitate it?”
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