Shamima Begum still a national security threat, supreme court told


From the Guardian

Shamima Begum, who left Britain as a schoolgirl to join Islamic State in Syria, remains a serious threat to national security and should be deprived of her UK citizenship, the supreme court has been told.

Extracts of MI5 assessments of the dangers posed by the return of those who joined Isis were read out at the start of a two-day hearing challenging the decision to revoke Begum’s citizenship and refuse her leave to enter the UK.

Sir James Eadie QC, for the Home Office, told the court the assessments gauged that Begum presented a serious threat “justifying the removal of her British citizenship and … the placing of serious impediments in the way of her return to the UK. . . She is assessed to pose a real and current threat to national security. She is aligned with [Isis]. During the four years she has spent in Islamic State territory she had undergone radicalisation and “desensitization to violence”.

Excerpts of MI5 assessments of those who had lived under the so-called caliphate said they were exposed to “desensitising acts of brutality” as well as instruction in using firearms and other weapons. Women and children non-combatants “regularly carried weapons and received some level of military training”, the reports said. The return of anyone who had spent so much time being indoctrinated in Syria represented an increased risk that they would “inspire and encourage” others to carry out attacks in the UK, the court heard.

In a 2019 interview with the Times, the court was told, Begum said she had seen severed heads dumped in rubbish bins and wondered “what had these men done to Muslim women”.

Eadie said that making it difficult to return was part of the intention to reduce the public’s exposure to a “national security threat”. Begum, he said, remained with Isis “until the very end, she didn’t regret going and she wanted the caliphate to be victorious”.

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