, 9 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
So much being said about #ShamimaBegum without any legal background to what is possible. She is a British citizen, which means she has a right to enter the UK - unless she is deprived of citizenship.
The Home Sec can deprive her of citizenship under s.40(2) British Nationality Act 1981, if it would be conducive to the public good & she would not become stateless as a result.
Ordinarily, deprivation doesn't apply to those like Shamima Begum who were born in the UK and British from birth. However, it is theoretically possible. But it's v unclear that she is entitled to any other nationality.
A deprivation decision is subject to a right of appeal, capable of balancing the competing rights of the individual against the public interest. On the public interest side is the obvious heavyweight: she joined ISIS. But that is not immediate case closed.
Set against it is the ordinary presumption against deprivation of citizenship for those who were minors. And what we know of grooming. A 15yo groomed into the sex industry or county lines drug trafficking industry is not held responsible for their own exploitation.
Why should that apply with any less pertinence to a 15yo groomed into the terror industry? Child marriage is not a 'choice' (even if the 15yo appears enthusiastic), it's a human rights abuse.
Many are also understandably worried by apparent indifference to horrors. And yet those who hear evidence from refugees will know that evidence given coolly may indicate untruthfulness, it may indicate lack of empathy but it may also indicate trauma & dissociation.
All of this will need to be considered before the Home Sec makes any decision on deprivation. & deprivation does not affect family members, so if the child is born before any deprivation order made, s/he will also be British.
This isn't special pleading for clemency; if she's committed a crime the CPS can consider charges. Nor is it sympathy to her ideals; ISIS would happily chuck me off a cliff. It's a plea for consideration of what is legally possible ahead of demands for what is legally impossible.
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