by Professor Devyani Prabhat, University of Bristol Law School
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a court that specialises in national security cases, has upheld the home secretary’s decision to cancel Shamima Begum’s citizenship. The 23-year-old was deprived of her citizenship in 2019, four years after leaving the UK aged 15 to join Islamic State in Syria. The court found “credible suspicion” that Begum had been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, as her lawyers had argued. It also found that there were “arguable breaches of duty” by state authorities in having allowed her to make the journey to Syria. (more…)
By Dr Devyani Prabhat, Reader in Law (University of Bristol Law School)
Sajiv Javid’s decision to revoke the citizenship of Shamima Begum, the 19-year-old from Bethnal Green who left to join Islamic State in 2015, has been met with mixed reaction. While some supported the home secretary’s decision, others have expressed concern about its implications.
In these debates, there is much confusion about what cancellation of citizenship entails: whether this is just the cancellation of Begum’s passport, whether she is becoming stateless or whether she could be sent to Bangladesh because she comes from a family of Bangladeshi heritage.
In reality, cancellation of British citizenship means people can be left in limbo in war zones because they lose the right to re-enter the UK and to receive any diplomatic protection.
Begum’s case, while high profile, is not unique, and in 2017, there was a large spike in cases and the citizenship of 104 people was revoked on grounds where it was deemed “conducive to the public good”. (more…)