What happened to Shamima Begum and what's next after she loses appeal?

Begum has lost her UK citizenship appeal but what is next for the former Isis recruit who fled the UK aged 15?

ROJ CAMP, NE SYRIA - MARCH 14: British-born Shamima Begum from Bethnal Green in London, who joined Islamic State in Syria aged 15 in 2015, is photographed at Roj Camp, where she is currently interred with other women who were members of Islamic State, on March 14, 2021, in Roj camp, Syria. (Photo by Sam Tarling/Getty Images)
Shamima Begum from Bethnal Green has lost her appeal to return to the UK. (Getty Images)

Shamima Begum has lost her appeal to be allowed to return to the UK, after leaving the country to join the Isis terror group in 2015.

Begum, from Bethnal Green, East London, was just 15 when she left the UK with two school friends and travelled to Syria. She was later stripped of her British citizenship in 2019.

The special immigration appeals commission (Siac) ruled on Wednesday that the citizenship decision taken by then-home secretary Sajid Javid was “lawful”, despite finding “credible suspicion” the schoolgirl may have been trafficked to Syria for “sexual exploitation”.

Her lawyers have suggested she will challenge the latest ruling. "In terms of the legal fight, that's nowhere near over," said Daniel Furner, speaking outside court following the decision.

Read on for what happened in the Shamima Begum case...

Who did Shamima Begum travel with?

In August 2015, Begum and her two school friends Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, left their homes in East London and travelled to Gatwick Airport, where they got on a flight to Turkey and later crossed into Syria.

"My mum walked me to the bus stop. I feel guilty for not giving her a better goodbye knowing I wouldn't see her again," Begum later told the BBC of her final day in London.

Begum and her friends were in contact with members of the Isis terror group online, and she later said they had been given advice on what to bring and excuses to use if they were caught attempting to get to Syria. "People used to say... pack nice clothes so you can dress nicely for your husband," she said.

After news of the teenagers' disappearance hit the headlines, a list of items they were intending to take on their journey was discovered, including money for taxi fare, socks and makeup. Begum said she took at least 30 mint Aero chocolate bars with her, as "you can find a lot of things in this country [Syria] but you cannot find mint chocolate".

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 10 :  In this photo taken from video, (L-R) Kadiza Sultana's Cousin Fahmida Aziz, Shamima Begum's sister Sahima Begum, Amira Abase's father Hussen Abase and Lawyer Tasnime Akunjee representing the families of the three schoolgirls missing in Syria attend an evidence session at Parliaments Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons, on three girls who are believed to have travelled to Syria to join Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in London, England on March 10, 2015. (Photo by House of Commons/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
(L-R) Kadiza Sultana's Cousin Fahmida Aziz, Shamima Begum's sister Sahima Begum, Amira Abase's father Hussen Abase and Lawyer Tasnime Akunjee representing the families of the three schoolgirls missing in Syria. (House of Commons/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Information has since emerged that the trio were taken into the country by smuggler Mohammed Al Rasheed, who was sharing information about the self-proclaimed Isis caliphate and its followers with Canadian authorities in the hopes of securing asylum.

The Begum family's lawyer later commented: "Intelligence-gathering looks to have been prioritised over the lives of children."

What happened to Shamima Begum's friends?

After the three girls crossed into Syria, Begum married to Isis fighter Yago Riedijk, a Dutch Muslim convert who was 21 when he met and wed the schoolgirl just 10 days after she arrived in Raqqa, Syria.

Amira Abase stayed in contact with her own family after leaving the UK, sending her mother messages on social media a number of times before the messages stopped, the Evening Standard reported. Abase married 18-year-old Australian Abdullah Elmir soon after arriving in Raqqa, however he was killed shortly after the pair met.

While Begum previously shared hopes that her friend was alive, Abase's mother told the media she believes her daughter has been killed.

Sultana was also married shortly after reaching Raqqa, to an American Isis fighter. She made a number of phone calls to her family after leaving the UK and said she was living as a housewife, despite intelligence sources suggesting she was involved in making suicide vests.

Sultana was reportedly killed in a Russian airstrike in 2016.

"Her house was bombed. Underground, there was secret stuff going on and a spy had figured out that something was going on and other people got killed as well," Begum said of her friend's death in an interview with The Times.

"At first I was in denial. I thought if we died we'd die together."

What happened to Shamima Begum's husband and children?

Riedijk, who met Begum for 10 minutes before the pair married, travelled to Syria from his home in Holland when he was 21 to fight for Isis.

On agreeing to marrying Begum, he told documentary 'The Shamima Begum story' that the pair discussed conditions before agreeing to the match.

"Basically she asked for some freedoms, which I agreed to give her - going shopping, seeing her friends, very, very basic stuff," he said. "We agreed on a dowry - all she asked for was an English translation of the Qur'an, which I agreed to."

He also commented that Begum had been "an empty paper" when they met, and said he had learned "how marriage worked" in the Islamic State: "Respecting of the husband, trying to please the husband and obedience".

Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, centre and and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey. (Metropolitan Police via AP, file)
Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, centre and and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey. (Metropolitan Police via AP, file)
Yago Riedijk, speaking to Sky News in 2019. (Sky News)
Yago Riedijk, speaking to Sky News in 2019. (Sky News)

Riedijk was arrested shortly after marrying Begum, accused by Isis of being a spy, and claims to have distanced himself from the terror group after his release - mainly socialising with civilians in Raqqa.

Begum suffered two miscarriages before having her first child with Riedijk, who told The Daily Mail the pair had some happy times together as a family.

"We started baking cakes, selling cakes on the market in order to make money to survive," he said. "She was basically with the kids, we had a second child, my son Jarrah. There were some nice days with the wife and kids at home. Some beautiful memories."

However, Begum later said that while Riedijk was initially nice, he later became "abusive". She told the Mail: "For the first eight months [in the caliphate] I was waiting at home for my husband who was in prison suspected of spying.

AL HOL CAMP, NE SYRIA - FEBRIARY 22: British-born Shemima Begum, 19, from Bethnal Green in London, stands outside the tent in which she's currently living with her newborn son at a detainment camp for foreign ISIS women and their children, on February 22, 2019, in Al Hol, near Hassakeh in North Eastern Syria. Begum had recently escaped from Baghouz, the small village in north east Syria that was the final hold out of Islamic State. (Photo by Sam Tarling/Getty Images)
Shamima Begum pictured outside the tent she was living in with her newborn son. The baby later died, as well as Begum's two older children. (Getty Images)

"After that I was constantly making babies."

Riedijk and Begum were separated as they fled Baghouz amid the fall of Isis, with Riedijk captured by Kurdish forces and jailed in Syria. He has been convicted in a Netherlands court over his membership of Isis and will also be jailed there if he is ever allowed to return.

The couple's first two children died from malnutrition and disease, and Begum later lost her third child who died in a refugee camp in 2019 amid her appeal to return home to the UK

What happens to Shamima Begum now?

After losing her latest appeal on Wednesday, Begum's lawyers suggested there were numerous ways forward and said the case was "nowhere near over".

Speaking outside court following the ruling, her legal team said: "Every possible avenue to challenge this decision will be urgently pursued."

Lawyer Gareth Peirce called the decision “an extraordinary judgment delivered in an extraordinary way”.

Now 23, Begum is living in al Roj camp in northern Syria, which she has previously described as “worse than a prison”.

"I’m just so much more than Isis and I’m so much more than everything I’ve been through," she added.

Following the ruling, a Home Office spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the court has found in favour of the Government’s position in this case.

“The Government’s priority remains maintaining the safety and security of the UK and we will robustly defend any decision made in doing so”.