LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Supreme Court is set to decide whether a woman who ran away from her London home as a teenager to join the Islamic State group in Syria can return to the U.K.
The British government is fighting to keep Shamima Begum from coming back to the country where she was born.
At a hearing beginning on Monday, it is challenging a lower court’s ruling that Begum can return to Britain to mount a legal challenge aimed at restoring her U.K. citizenship, which was revoked on national security grounds.
The Court of Appeal said in July that “the only way in which she can have a fair and effective appeal is to be permitted to come into the United Kingdom.”
But James Eadie, a lawyer acting for the U.K. government, told the Supreme Court justices that Begum “is considered to pose a real and current threat to national security.”
Begum, now 21, was one of three east London schoolgirls who traveled to Syria in 2015 to live under IS rule. She says she married an Islamic State member from the Netherlands and had three children, all of whom have died.
She resurfaced at a refugee camp in Syria in 2019 and told reporters she wanted to come home, but was denied the chance when then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked her citizenship. He argued that she was Bangladeshi by descent and could go there.
The situation has thrown into sharp relief the larger question of how Western societies deal with people who joined IS but want to go back to their home countries.
Begum challenged the decision, arguing she is not the citizen of another country and that Javid’s decision left her stateless.
The hearing in front of five Supreme Court judges is scheduled to last two days, with the court likely to give its ruling at a later date.