The Chief Justice, Lord Robert Reid, said that the UK Court of Appeal made four mistakes last year when it ruled that Begum should be allowed to return to the UK to fulfill her appeal.
Begum was 15 years old when she left the UK in 2015 with two of her school friends to join ISIS in Syria. She was stripped of her British citizenship by then-Home Minister Sajid Javid on February 19, 2019 after her discovery in a refugee camp in northern Syria.
According to Reed, the appeals court erred in ruling that Begum’s right to a fair trial should prevail over other competing rights.
“The right to a fair trial does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public,” Reid said.
The UK Court of Appeal ruled last year that Begum must be granted permission to enter the UK to appeal because otherwise it would not be a “fair and effective hearing”.
Reid added that the Appeals Court did not give the Home Secretary’s assessment of the UK’s entry requirements “the respect it deserves,” adding that the court made its “own assessment of the requirements” despite “no relevant evidence.”
The Supreme Court also ruled that Begum’s appeal against revoking her British citizenship should be “postponed” until she can participate without “compromising public safety.”
In his ruling, Reid said that Begum is currently being held in a camp in Syria. He said that “this is not an ideal solution because it is not known how long it may be before this becomes possible.”
“There is no complete solution to a dilemma of the current kind,” Reid added.
The decision to revoke Begum’s citizenship has come under heavy criticism from human rights activists and legal experts alike who argue that the revocation renders her stateless and undermines her right to a fair appeal.