SIAC dismisses citizenship deprivation appeal by Shamima Begum


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The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) has handed down judgment in the case of Shamima Begum v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

On 19 February 2019, the Secretary of State for the Home Department deprived Shamima Begum of her citizenship, pursuant to s 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981. Ms Begum exercised her right of appeal pursuant to s.2B of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997.

The Commission noted that the appeal raised “important and complex points of law which are not free from difficulty or controversy.”

The Commission considered that there is a credible suspicion that Ms Begum was recruited, transferred and then harboured for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The Commission also concluded that it is arguable that there were State failures, and possible violations of the protective duty, in permitting Ms Begum to leave the country to travel to Syria.

The Commission stated that reasonable people with knowledge of all the relevant evidence will differ as to the extent to which Ms Begum’s travel to Syria was voluntary and the weight to be given to that factor in the context of all others, and will differ as to the threat she posed in February 2019 to the national security of the United Kingdom, and how that threat should be balanced against all countervailing considerations. However, those issues were held to be for the Secretary of State to evaluate, and not for the Commission.

The Commission dismissed Ms Begum’s appeal.

Dan Squires KC, Samantha Knights KC, Ayesha Christie, and Tim James-Matthews (with Julianne Kerr Morrison) acted for Ms Begum, instructed by Birnberg Peirce.

Jonathan Glasson KC (with Sir James Eadie KC, David Blundell KC, Jennifer Thelen, and Karl Laird) acted for the Secretary of State for the Home Department, instructed by the Government Legal Department.

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