As makeshift desert prisons collapse, Britain is in real danger of losing track of its imprisoned nationals

Can the government continue to abdicate responsibility for Brits held in north-east Syria accused of association with Islamic State? The answer is no, according to the court of appeal, which this week ordered the government to return 20-year-old Shamima Begum to the UK so she could properly appeal the stripping of her UK citizenship.

Begum was 15 years old when she left her home in Bethnal Green, east London, and 19 when she was identified in a detention camp in north-east Syria. In the intervening years she had given birth to two children who subsequently died, and was at that time heavily pregnant with a third.

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