A court rejected her bid after she changed her mind about appealing then ran out of time
A woman who left the UK to join the ISIS terrorist group has lost a bid to have her British citizenship restored.
Now 27 years old, the woman is living with her son in Syria’s Al Roj camp, after being stripped of UK nationality in 2019.
She cannot be named for legal reasons.
The woman delayed her challenge against losing citizenship for two and a half years.
A hearing to decide if an appeal could go ahead rejected that request because it had taken so long, and because she at one point messaged her mother to say she didn’t want the citizenship.
The UK has been accused of breaching international law by abandoning children born to ISIS members, who remain in camps in Syria unable to return home even though hundreds of minors in similar circumstances have established new lives across Europe.
The woman is “one of a number of individuals” who have been stripped of their UK citizenship “having gone to Syria to align themselves with the ISIS” who are now living in camps, a court has heard.
There are currently believed to be about 60 children trapped there.
The woman, identified only as F4, brought her case to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in a bid to be allowed to appeal to against the decision to strip her of citizenship, despite having missed the initial 28-day deadline.
Maya Foa, the joint executive director of human rights campaign group Reprieve, who worked with F4 in the camp in a bid to get her repatriated to the UK, said the judges’ decision to reject her bid was “disappointing”.
“The idea that you would strip someone of their citizenship who is very young and then even deny them the right to appeal, even to be heard, where are the principles of justice?” she told media.
“This is a judicial black hole, where you can be stripped of citizenship and left stateless, and the government doesn’t even give you the right to be heard.”
The Somalia-born woman, who came to the UK as a child, went to Syria aged 17 to join ISIS and married a Swedish national, also of Somali ethnicity, who was reportedly violent and abusive towards her.
The couple had a son and a daughter, who died aged only a few months old, in the first half of 2019, after which the woman fled ISIS territory and headed to Al Roj.
While living in harsh conditions, in which the woman and her son suffered from starvation, she was being helped by Reprieve, the hearing was told.
Then in December 2019, her UK citizenship was stripped and she was given 28 days to appeal, which she was informed about by her mother in a WhatsApp voice note.
But she told her mother in several messages she had no wish to appeal the decision and one message said, “I do not want British citizenship”.
In August 2022 she changed her mind and sought an extension to the deadline, which was heard by SIAC at the end of last year.