It’s not about the “Isis bride”. It’s about our standards of due process
Shamima Begum, the “Isis bride” from east London, has been granted legal aid to challenge the decision by the home secretary, Sajid Javid, to strip her of her British citizenship.
Cue outrage. The Tory MP Philip Davies said it was “absolutely disgusting” to fund someone “who joined an organisation that wants to destroy our way of life and our country”.
On the same day that the decision by the Legal Aid Agency was reported, evidence emerged to contest Begum’s own description of herself, while an Isis recruit in Syria, as a stay-at-home mum who did nothing dangerous. It involved claims that she sewed bombers into their suicide vests and patrolled with a rifle, tried to recruit other young women to Isis and served in a senior role in its “morality police”.
Revulsion and fury — however justified — at someone’s depraved behaviour should never be used, though, to refuse that person a legal defence of something as fundamental as their citizenship. For that touches upon matters that don’t just affect them but all of us: the need to uphold fairness, justice and due process.
A better idea, surely, would be the one so strenuously resisted by many MPs and human rights lawyers — to modernise and implement once more the law of treason. Shamima Begum’s citizenship appeal, whichever way it goes, will solve nothing. Meanwhile, we must all just stifle our distaste and suck it up.
To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.