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UK: Removing Shamima Begum's citizenship is a 'medieval' punishment

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Responding to this morning’s Court of Appeal judgment that the removal of Shamima Begum’s UK citizenship was lawful, Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said: 

“Banishing citizens is a punishment from the medieval era and should have no place in the modern world.  

“Shamima Begum was born a British citizen and had lived in the UK her entire life right up to the point she was lured to Syria when still a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

“ISIS have been responsible for appalling crimes in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, but that doesn’t change the fact that Begum is British and was groomed and trafficked to Syria.

“The UK authorities should be responsible for all its citizens, including Shamima Begum, and should not be exiling them – so it’s very disappointing that the Court of Appeal has concluded it cannot overturn what the Home Secretary has done.

“The UK should be helping its citizens stranded in dangerous circumstances in Syria, not barring their safe return to the UK - whether or not there are grounds for them to face prosecution or other measures on their return.”

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