British Islamic State bride loses citizenship appeal

07.02.2020

A woman who married an Islamic State fighter in Syria as a teenager lost an appeal against the British government's decision to strip her of her citizenship on Friday.

An immigration appeals tribunal ruled that removing British citizenship had not left Shamima Begum, 20, stateless. Begum will appeal the decision, lawyer Daniel Furner of Birnberg Peirce said in a statement.

Furner said it would be "hard to explain" the decision to Begum because the tribunal accepted that she faced "extreme danger" in the refugee camp but would not allow her to return to Britain to fight her legal case.

"As matters stand, Ms Begum's right to pursue an appeal against the Home secretary's deprivation of her citizenship has been in effect rendered meaningless," he said.

Begum's British parents were born in Bangladesh and the government has argued that this means she is not stateless because she could claim Bangladeshi citizenship.

Begum left London as a 15-year-old schoolgirl in 2015 with two friends to join the terrorist group.

Criticism of the government's removal of her citizenship grew in March after reports that Begum's 3-week-old son had died at the Al Hol refugee camp, in north-eastern Syria.

She told British media that she had a girl and another boy with Dutch husband Yago Riedijk, an Islamic State fighter, but both children had died.

At least two other British women who married Islamic State fighters have been stripped of their citizenship.

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