By Amit Roy
THE Supreme Court ruled last week that the Home Office was right to keep Shamima Begum out of the country if the intelligence services felt she posed a threat to national security.
This is a strange case in which a Bangladeshi girl was stripped of her nationality by a Pakistani home secretary, with that decision supported by his Indian successor.
Do I really think that Shamima, now 21, who fled Britain as a 15-year-old schoolgirl to join Daesh (Islamic State) in Syria, is a clear and present danger to Britain? Probably not.
In the past, I have said that perhaps Shamima – I do feel sorry for her since she has lost three babies due to lack of medical care – should be let back on compassionate grounds. But I guess the best way of ensuring she does not do any mischief is by making sure she doesn’t return.
And also, if the government makes an example of her, perhaps it will discourage other girls from following her example. If they realise once you are out, you are out for good, they may think twice before venturing forth to offer themselves up as jihadi brides.
Initially, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) said then home secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to strip Shamima of her nationality in 2019 was lawful because she was “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent”.
This decision was overturned by three appeal court judges, including an Indian, Lord Justice (Rabinder) Singh, who said that “the only way in which she can have a fair and effective appeal is to be permitted to come into the United Kingdom to pursue her appeal.
“Fairness and justice must, on the facts of this case, outweigh the national security concerns, so that the leave to enter appeals should be allowed.”
But five Supreme Court judges said last week that the appeal court had “mistakenly believed that, when an individual’s right to have a fair hearing… came into conflict with the requirements of national security, her right to a fair hearing must prevail”.
Shamima’s right to a fair hearing did “not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public”.
Many human rights lawyers and commentators, even on the right, are arguing that if Shamima is a terrorist, she is a British terrorist – and should not be dumped on someone else.
At least, Shamima is alive and may be allowed back many years from now. Her classmates, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, who ran away with her – part of the “Bethnal Green trio” – were both killed in the fighting.
Curiously, the last photograph of Shamima revealed she had swapped her chador for jeans and sunglasses – the way she might be dressed were she living in London.
But if Shamima is kept out, the Home Office will have to be equally tough with white boys and girls who also joined Daesh, and some of whom have been let back.