A woman who joined the Islamic State in Syria as a British teenager must not return to the United Kingdom, nor to challenge the withdrawal of her citizenship. That is what the British Supreme Court has ruled.
The woman, Shamima Begum, is 21 years old. She was 15 when she left England with two other schoolgirls from East London in February 2015 and travelled to IS in Syria. Shes now trapped in northern Syria in a camp guarded by armed guards.
The British Interior Ministry took away British nationality for security reasons two years ago. She wants to return to the United Kingdom to challenge that decision.
Last summer, the British Court of Appeal ruled that she should be given the opportunity to return because she could not effectively appeal the decision from the camp in Northern Syria.
The Interior Ministry then went to the Supreme Court arguing that its return would create significant national security risks. The Supreme Court now says that her rights were not violated when her permission was refused to return.
According to Lord Reed, Supreme Court President, the judges unanimously reached their verdict and the government had the right to prevent Begum from returning to the UK. “The right to be heard does not go beyond all other considerations, such as public safety,” he said.
Married to Dutchman
Begum married relatively soon after her arrival in Syria with the Dutch IS-supporter Yago Riedijk. British journalists found her in 2019 in a Syrian refugee camp, when she was pregnant. After giving birth, Riedijk tried to go to the Netherlands with Begum. That didnt work out, and their baby didnt die much later.
That child would have been the third of Riedijk and Begum to die in Syria. In an interview with De Volkskrant Riedijk said that he previously lost a son and a daughter, due to starvation.
The couple went along with IS until there was only a few square kilometers left of the caliphate in Barghouz, which was taken two years ago by the Kurds and the Syrian army. Riedijk was sentenced in absentia to six years in prison for participation in a terrorist organisation. The two themselves say they did not commit crimes or propaganda for ISIS.