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Case against Shamima Begum is ‘no more than that she travelled to Syria,’ her barrister says

THE only case against Shamima Begum is “no more than that she travelled to Syria and ‘aligned with IS’,” her barrister said today.

In written submissions to the Supreme Court, Lord Pannick QC argued: “It is not alleged that she fought, trained or participated in any terrorist activities, nor that she had any role within IS.

“It is not said that she has expressed or harbours any ill will against the United Kingdom.”

Ms Begum was 15 when she and two other east London schoolgirls travelled to Syria to join Isis 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Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February last year.

Ms Begum, now 21 and currently in the al-Roj camp in northern Syria, is challenging the Home Office’s decision to remove her British citizenship and wants to be allowed to return to Britain to pursue her appeal.

In July, 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.”

But the Home Office argues that allowing her to return to Britain “would create significant national security risks” and expose the public to “an increased risk of terrorism.”

At a remote hearing today, Sir James Eadie QC told the Supreme 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.”

The Supreme Court hearing, which is being livestreamed on the court’s website, is due to conclude tomorrow and it is expected that the court will reserve its judgement.


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