Ex-IS bride loses appeal to have her UK citizenship restored

LONDON (AP) — A British woman whose U.K. citizenship was revoked after she traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State group lost an appeal to have her citizenship restored.

Shamima Begum, now 23, was 15 years old when she and two other girls from London joined the extremist group in February 2015. Authorities withdrew her British citizenship on national security grounds soon after she was found in a Syria refugee camp in 2019.

Begum challenged the action of Sajid Javid, the U.K.'s home secretary at the time, arguing that it left her stateless and that she should have been treated as a child trafficking victim, not a security risk.

The British government claimed she could seek a Bangladeshi passport based on family ties. But Begum’s family argued that she was from the U.K. and never held a Bangladeshi passport.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a tribunal which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone’s British citizenship on national security grounds, held a five-day hearing on her case in November and dismissed Begum's challenge on Wednesday.

The situation has thrown into sharp relief the larger question of how Western societies deal with people who joined IS but want to go back to their home countries.

The Associated Press