London-born Islamic State (ISIS) recruit Shamima Begum has won the right to return to the U.K. and carry on her legal fight against the U.K. government’s revocation of her British citizenship on security grounds.
The former London schoolgirl, who left the UK for Syria aged 15, lived under Isis rule for more than three years before being found in a refugee camp last February.
Sajid Javid, then the home secretary, removed her British citizenship shortly afterwards, and the government has used the same powers against dozens of alleged Isis members to prevent their return to the UK.
Begum’s lawyers appealed the decision, accusing the government of making her stateless and exposing her to the risk of death or inhuman and degrading treatment.
They appealed to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) but it ruled the move lawful and said Begum had not been made stateless in February.
On Thursday, the Court of Appeal granted Begum permission to launch a judiciary review against that decision.
“Ms Begum should be allowed to come to the United Kingdom to pursue her appeal albeit subject to such controls as the secretary of state deems appropriate,” a summary of its decision said.
The Home Office moved to immediately block the effect of what it called a “very disappointing decision by the court”.
“We will now apply for permission to appeal this judgment, and to stay its effects pending any onward appeal,” a spokesperson said.
The Kurdish authorities holding Begum have repeatedly called for the UK to repatriate her and other Isis members.
In the full judgment, Lord Justice Flaux said national security concerns over Begum “could be addressed and managed” in the UK.
“If the Security Service and the director of public prosecutions consider that the evidence and public interest tests for a prosecution for terrorist offences are met, she could be arrested and charged upon her arrival in the UK and remanded in custody pending trial,” he added.