In October 2019, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) heard the first part of Shamima Begum’s appeal against the decision by the Home Secretary to revoke her British Citizenship.  The preliminary issues included whether she could have a fair and effective appeal, and whether the decision left her stateless and so was unlawful on that ground.  Angus McCullough QC, with Adam Straw of Doughty Street Chambers, acted as Special Advocate.

As widely reported, Ms Begum left the UK aged 15 to join Islamic State in Syria. She married a Dutch fighter and gave birth to three children, none of whom survived.  She was found in a Syrian refugee camp by journalists.

She launched a legal challenge on various grounds, challenging the decision to revoke her citizenship, including that it leaves her stateless. The Home Office claimed that under Bangladeshi law she is a citizen by descent, through her parents’ nationality. They argued that the risks she faces are unrelated to her citizenship, but to her decision to relocate to Syria and join IS.  The Bangladeshi Government has declared that she is not one of its citizens.

On 7th February SIAC held that removal of Ms Begum’s British citizenship was not unlawful on the ground that it would leave her stateless, given her residual Bangladeshi nationality, finding in favour of the Home Secretary on the preliminary issues.

The open judgment is available here.

Reported in the press below and analysed by Marina Wheeler QC on UK Human Rights Blog here: