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Shamima Begum jihadi bride case set to cost taxpayers more than £5m


The legal case involving jailed jihadi bride Shamima Begum is likely to cost taxpayers more than £5million, according to experts.

Lawyers acting for Begum, 21 - who was 15 when she and two school friends fled Britain for Syria with two school friends – are now planning to launch a new court case in November, arguing she should be allowed back to Britain on the grounds that she was trafficked.

Their claims appeared to have been strengthened last week when a new book claimed that an Islamic State (IS) people smuggler who was at the time working for Canadian intelligence helped Begum and her two friends Kadiza Sultana, then 16, and Amira Abase, 15 at the time, to travel from Istanbul to the Syrian border in 2015.

However, official sources said that the Government will robustly defend its decision to strip Begum of her British citizenship.

One insider said: ‘All the recent coverage shows that she left the UK for Syria willingly.’

Begum’s first court bid to return to Britain was launched months after then Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of citizenship in February 2019 because she was considered a threat to national security.

Her case, which started at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), has since been heard at the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, which upheld Mr Javid’s decision.

Legal experts believe that the cost of the case – in which Begum received legal aid – has already cost more than £2million.

Paul Fulcher, who runs specialist firm Legal Costs Experts, said: ‘You have to remember that some of these barristers can charge up to £1,000 per hour and this case has gone on for almost two years through several courts.

‘If the whole process starts again and ends up at the Supreme Court, the whole thing could cost taxpayers upwards of £5million.’