Shamima Begum’s return to UK shores has been cast in doubt after the British government dramatically won a court battle allowing it the right to appeal an earlier decision. The appeal will be heard by the UK’s Supreme Court.

Begum, now 20, who was one of three east London schoolgirls who traveled to Syria to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in 2015, won a High Court appeal earlier this month, allowing her to return to the UK and challenge the withdrawal of her British citizenship.

However on Friday, the Court of Appeal ruled that the case raised a point of law of public importance, meaning that Begum’s return must be paused while the UK government appeals the decision.

Begum left the UK five years ago and lived under IS rule for over three years, having married Dutch-born Islamic State fighter Yago Riedijk. She was found in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019, and was discovered to be pregnant.

Then-UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked her British citizenship later that year on national security grounds. Last year, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) said that Begum had not been unlawfully rendered stateless while she was living in Syria because she was entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship.

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