09:37 GMT18 May 2021
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    The ruling has forced the UK government to backtrack on a decision to deny relocation assistance to the former Daesh* recruit, as well as allow her to return to British courts to fight a decision to revoke her citizenship, UK media reported on Thursday.

    UK judges ruled on Thursday that London schoolgirl Shamima Begum would be allowed to return to the United Kingdom to appeal a decision to strip the 'ISIS bride' of her UK citizenship.

    "I consider that Ms Begum’s claim for judicial review of the decision of SIAC [Special Immigration Appeals Commission]... succeeds," Julian Flaux, Court of Appeal judge ruled on Thursday.

    Ms Begum's court victory comes after a lengthy battle to return to the UK after she left in 2015 to join Islamic State along with two other schoolgirls.

    Begum, 20, had her citizenship stripped by the UK Home Office under then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid over national security concerns after being found housed at a refugee camp in 2019, according to UK media.

    The court ruling added that Begum, 20, had been denied a fair hearing as she could not appeal her case from the al Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria, following similar arguments from her defence at the Court of Appeal last month. 

    "Ms Begum has never had a fair opportunity to give her side of the story. She is not afraid of facing British justice, she welcomes it. But the stripping of her citizenship without a chance to clear her name is not justice, it is the opposite," Daniel Furner, Begum's solicitor said in a statement.

    The news comes after the Daesh recruit told courts that Downing Street's decision to revoke her citizenship was illegal as it would leave her stateless under international law. Ms Begum could only receive Bangladeshi citizenship via her mother.

    Begum's History With ISIS Fighters

    The news comes after a SIAC tribunal ruled in February that the UK government's decision to strip Begum of her citizenship was lawful, stating she had been "a citizen of Bangladesh by descent".

    Ms Begum told UK media that she was "just a housewife" after joining Islamic State, where she married Yago Riedijk, a Dutch rebel, and later left Raqqa in January 2017 after losing two children and a third child in 2019.

    "When my citizenship got rejected, I felt like my whole world fell apart right in front of me. You know, especially the way I was told. I wasn't even told by a government official. I had to be told by journalists," she told ABC News in an interview in February, despite making unapologetic comments about joining the terrorist organisation to the Times last year.

    She told the Times that she had "no regrets" about joining Islamic State and that severed heads from hostages "didn't faze" her at all.

    But speaking to Sky News, she said that she had been aware of beheadings and jihadi executions but was "okay with it", stating she heard that "Islamically that is allowed".

    She also confirmed in previous comments that she still backed the rape and murder of Yazidis, a religious minority in northern Syria and Iraq.

    Reports from anti-Daesh activist Aghiad al-Kheder also found that Ms Begum had brandished automatic weapons and shouted at Syrian women for wearing brightly coloured shoes while serving as a member of Daesh's morality police.

    According to the University of Birmingham, roughly 800 British citizens travelled to the caliphate to fight for Islamic State, with a total of 5,000 European citizens estimated to join the ranks of the terrorist organisation. The European Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) estimates that 45 percent of all British jihadi fighters have returned to the UK.

    *Daesh (aka Islamic state/ISIS/ISIL) is a terrorist group banned in Russia


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