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UK ISIS bride can return to country after leaving for Syria in 2015, says court

Women said to be members of the Islamic State (IS) terror group walk by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in the village of Baghouz, Syria on March 14, 2019. (Delil souleiman/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
July 16, 2020

A court in the United Kingdom ruled Thursday that a woman who left London as a teenager to join the ISIS terror group may return to the U.K. to challenge the loss of her citizenship status.

A U.K. Divisional Court ruled Shamima Begum should be permitted to return to the U.K. to make her case for renewed citizenship before a special immigration panel, according to a court summary released Thursday.

February of 2015, when she was 15-years-old. Begum, along with two friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana joined the Islamic State in Syria. Within 10 days of her arrival in Syira, Begum had reportedly been married off to an ISIS fighter, Yago Riedijk. Together they had three children.

Begum later turned up in a prison camp for ISIS members after the fall of the terror group’s last major territorial stronghold in Baghuz. Since 2019, Begum has been held captive in an Syrian prison camp housing other ISIS fighters and supporters.  Begum has had her British citizenship suspended since February 19 of 2019.

“We accept that, in her current circumstances, [Ms Begum] cannot play any meaningful part in her appeal, and that, to that extent, the appeal will not be fair and effective,” the court said of its decision, noting challenges Begum faces in presenting her appeal for citizenship from Syria.

Begum renounced her ties to the terror group in October as part of an earlier appeal to return to the U.K.

Along with marrying Riedijk, Begum has also been accused of helping sew explosive vests for suicide bomber, recruiting other ISIS brides and joining the terror group’s religious morality police, the Hesba. The morality police group is tasked with maintaining ISIS standards for dress and strict moral behavior.

Begum’s ISIS-fighter husband Riedijk, and their three children have all since died, as have her two friends who left for Syria with her in 2015.

After initially being found Al Hawl prison camp in 2019, Begum said she did not regret joining the ISIS terror group, however In October, Begum told the Daily Mail  she would have renounced her ties to ISIS earlier but feared for her safety while held captive among thousands of other captured ISIS sympathizers.

Begum also told the publication that the claims of her involvement with the Hesba were “bullshit.”

She also raised concerns about her mental health while being held captive, stating she “was in a really bad way.”