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World News

UK Supreme Court to hear jihadist bride's citizenship case in November

LONDON (Reuters) - The UK Supreme Court will hear arguments in November for and against the government’s decision to remove the UK citizenship of a British-born woman who went to Syria as a schoolgirl to join Islamic State.

The case of Shamima Begum has been the subject of a heated debate in Britain, pitting those who say she forsook her right to citizenship and is a security threat, against those who argue she should not be left stateless but rather face trial in Britain.

Begum, who was born to Bangladeshi parents, left London in 2015 when she was 15 and travelled to Syria via Turkey with two schoolfriends. In Syria, she married an Islamic State fighter and lived in the capital of the violent jihadist group’s self-declared caliphate.

Britain stripped her of her citizenship after she was discovered in 2019 in a detention camp in Syria, where three of her children died. The government argued Begum was a threat to national security and should not be allowed to return.

But the Court of Appeal ruled in July that Begum should be let back into Britain to give her a chance to appeal against the removal of her citizenship, a ruling the government called “very disappointing”.

Five Supreme Court justices will hear the government’s appeal against the July ruling as well as Begum’s appeal against the original decision to strip her of her citizenship during two days of hearings on Nov. 23 and 24.

Begum angered many Britons by appearing unrepentant about seeing severed heads and saying a suicide attack that killed 22 people in the English city of Manchester in 2017 was justified.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon, editing by William James

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