Shamima Begum can’t return to the UK to restore her citizenship, the Supreme Court ruled
The backstory. Begum, who fled London to join Isis six years ago, was stripped of her British passport in 2019 by the then home secretary, Sajid Javid, on national security grounds.
Is this legal? Kinda. The UK can remove a person’s citizenship for “the public good” – but only if doing so doesn’t leave them stateless.
- Javid’s argument: Begum is eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship.
- Bangladesh’s argument: Begum was born and raised in the UK.
Last July: the Court of Appeal ruled Begum, who’s currently in a Syrian detention camp, could return to the UK to challenge the revocation of her citizenship in person.
in a judgement
that makes things reaaalllly
awkward for the appeal judges, the SC overruled the lower court. It said:
- The CoA didn’t give the home sec’s decision enough “respect” as a democratically-elected minister.
- National security > the right to a fair hearing.
It’s a big win for current home sec Priti Patel. Others, though, say the court’s blanket deference to the government is pretty worrying:
- Adam Wagner posted a really good Twitter thread on this. You should read it.
Looking ahead… the SC is allowing Begum to make one last appeal – but only when she can play an effective part in it without compromising public safety.
Zoom out. The judgement is unanimous – like the second Miller case and the Heathrow case. Looks like the SC’s new gameplan (subconscious or conscious?) is to hold hands and put on a united front when ruling on sensitive issues.