Shamima Begum’s school and police both ‘missed opportunities’ before the then-schoolgirl traveled to Syria and aligned herself with the so-called Islamic State (IS), a source said. court.
Ms Begum was 15 when she and two other schoolgirls from east London traveled to Syria to join IS in February 2015.
Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found nine months pregnant in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.
Ms Begum, now 23, is challenging the Home Office’s decision to strip her of British citizenship, with her lawyers arguing the department had a legal duty to investigate whether she was a victim of the deals at the time the decision was made.
On Tuesday, Samantha Knights KC, for Ms Begum, said: ‘In this case, we are saying there have been missed opportunities, both at school… and in relation to the police and the secretary of State taking the decision to deprive, must take these shortcomings into account.”
Ms Begum’s lawyers said she was “recruited, transported, transferred, harbored and received in Syria for the purposes of ‘sexual exploitation’ and ‘marriage’ to an adult male”.
In written submissions, Ms Knights and Dan Squires KC said there “were a clear range of questions of individual, local and national importance as to whether action could and should have been taken” by organizations such as the Metropolitan Police, Ms Begum’s school, the Home Office and security services ‘which may have prevented the girls from traveling or led to their interception prior to their arrival in Syria’.
Lawyers said there were questions about whether ‘key indicators’ that Ms Begum and her two friends were at risk of being trafficked had not been missed by police or security services .
Ms Knights told the court that while a trafficked person could still be prosecuted or stripped of their nationality, “terrorism and trafficking are inextricably linked”.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) has already heard that part of the test before someone is stripped of their UK citizenship is whether they are a ‘tax payer for the public good’.
She later said that any potential failure of state organs “must be investigated as it serves the public good”.
In written submissions, Sir James Eadie KC, of the Home Office, said there was ‘no ‘credible suspicion’ that she had been trafficked or was at real and immediate risk of being trafficked. being trafficked before traveling from the UK”.
He continued: “On December 10, 2014, the police and Ms. Begum’s school discussed the issue of her possible trip to Syria to align with ISIL. However, both considered the risk to be low.
Sir James said Ms Begum’s case requires him to prove that his school, local authorities and police ‘were wrong in their assessment of the same problem at the same time’.
“The deprivation decision cannot be retrospectively invalidated by alleged failures to conduct a proper investigation, which allegedly occurred after Ms Begum’s departure from the UK, and by other entities who were not involved in the decision of deprivation,” he continued.
The lawyer said Ms Begum would have to prove ‘multiple investigations’ were inadequate, adding: ‘There is no evidentiary basis for this.
“What Ms Begum cannot do is speculate to generate a hypothetical link between what these entities might have accomplished and the investigation that has been undertaken here,” Sir James added.
He later said it was “fully possible that someone was trafficked – which the Secretary of State does not accept in this case – but remains a national security risk”.
Sir James said the then Home Secretary took into account Ms Begum’s age, how she got to Syria – including likely online radicalization – and her activity in Syria , when she made the decision to withdraw her British citizenship.
The hearing in London before Judge Jay is due to end on Friday, with a decision expected in writing at a later date.