A young British woman who moved to Syria as a teenager to join the Islamic State in Syria should not be allowed back into the country, Britain’s top court ruled Friday.
The UK Supreme Court ruled against an appeal filed on behalf of Shamima Begum, who has sought to return to Britain to challenge a government decision to strip her of her citizenship due to her membership in a terrorist organization.
Begum, 21, was born in the UK to Bangladeshi immigrants, and left Britain in 2015 at the age of 15, travelling to Syria via Turkey with two school friends.
Once in Syria, Begum joined the ISIS terrorist organization, and married an ISIS terrorist.
Begum had three children while living in Syria, though all three have since died. She is currently living in the Roj camp administered by Syrian Kurds.
Her allegiance with the terror group led the British government to strip Begum of her UK citizenship in 2019.
In 2020, however, the Court of Appeal challenged the move, arguing that Begum should be allowed into the country to appeal in person the decision to nullify her citizenship.
On Friday the Supreme Court overruled the lower court, backing the government’s decision to bar Begum from reentering the country, citing public safety.
Begum will still be able to appeal the decision to strip her of British citizenship, however.
“The right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public,” said the Supreme Court’s chief justice, Robert Reed.
“If a vital public interest makes it impossible for a case to be fairly heard, then the courts cannot ordinarily hear it.”