Shamima Begum’s bid to return to the UK and see her British citizenship reinstated has cost taxpayers more than £30,000, it is claimed. Ms Begum is currently appealing the Home Office’s decision to revoke her of British citizenship on the grounds the move left her stateless – which is illegal under international law. So far, her lawyers have claimed £14,500 in legal aid trying to win back her citizenship – but the true figure is believed to be much higher.
The true public bill is at least double that once Home Office staff costs and court time are accounted for, The Sun reports.
Ms Begum’s case is currently being heard in the Court of Appeals, after the Special Immigration Appeals Commission found she had not been improperly denied of her citizenship because she has Bangladeshi citizenship.
In court yesterday, her lawyer Tom Hickman QC said she should be allowed back to the UK to fight her citizenship battle in person.
He said Ms Begum was left to “languish indefinitely” and could not have a “fair and effective appeal” which “is wrong in law”.
Shamima Begum is believed to have cost taxpayers more than £30,000 in legal costs
Shamima Begum fled to Syria with two school friends in February 2015
Mr Hickman added: “Because somebody has gone to Syria is not an indication they are a security risk.”
But Sir James Eadie QC, representing the Home Office, said Ms Begum’s inability to fully take part in the appeal was because she decided to leave Britain and join IS.
He said in written submissions: “The fact that the appellant could not fully engage with the statutory appeal procedure was a result of her decision to leave the UK, travel to Syria against Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice and align with ISIL.
“This led to her being held in conditions akin to detention in a foreign state at the hands of a third party, the Syrian Defence Force.
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Shamima Begum had her UK citizenship revoked last year
“It was not the result of any action by the Secretary of State and the deprivation decision did not have any causative impact on the appellant in this respect.”
Ms Begum travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS) in February 2015 with two school friends.
Within days she had crossed the Turkish border and eventually reached the IS headquarters at Raqqa, where she married a Dutch convert recruit.
They had three children, all of whom have since died.
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Shamima Begum is currently appealing the Home Office’s decision to revoke her of British citizenship
Ms Begum lived under the terror group’s rule for more than three years where she reportedly served as a member of the ISIS “morality police”, a feared group which enforced the terror organisation’s strict interpretation of Islamic law.
The teenager is thought to have earned a reputation as a strict enforcer of ISIL’s laws, such as dress codes for women and tried to recruit other young women to join the jihadist group.
She was also accused of stitching suicide bombers into exclusive vests, so they could not be removed without detonating.
The allegations, reported by The Sunday Telegraph, were made by other westerners who joined ISIS and claimed to have witnessed the horrific crimes.
Shamima Begum’s lawyers have already claimed £14,500 in legal aid
In February 2019 Ms Begum was found, nine months pregnant, in a refugee camp and pleaded to return to the UK to raise her child.
But the UK rejected her please, with the then security minister Ben Wallace saying: “I’m not putting at risk British people’s lives to go and look for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state.”
The woman made several televised interviews, and told The Times she did not regret joining the terror group and claimed that seeing a severed head in a bin “didn’t faze” her.
But she later insisted she “regretted everything” and had been brainwashed.
Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid later stripped her of her British citizenship.