Sunday, April 02, 2017

UK can strip terror suspects of citizenship, European judges rule - The Guardian

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UK can strip terror suspects of citizenship, European judges rule

Human rights court rejects claim by Sudan-born man who was barred from returning to UK under Theresa May’s policy

uropean human rights judges have ruled that Theresa May’s policy of stripping British terror suspects of their citizenship while abroad to bar them from returning to Britain is lawful.
Judges at the European court of human rights (ECHR) unanimously threw out a claim by a Sudan-born terror suspect who took UK citizenship in 2000 that depriving him of his British passport violated his right to a private and family life.
Figures collected by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published last June showed that at least 33 people had been stripped of their British nationality on terrorism-related grounds since May was home secretary in 2010. All of those had been dual nationals, meaning no one had yet been left “stateless” through the use of the power.
Ministers had made little use of the power, enshrined in the British Nationality Act 1981, until it became more widely used to deal with British citizens returning from fighting in Syria. In 2014, the power was extended from covering just dual nationals to those who “there were reasonable grounds to consider that they could be eligible for another nationality”. The extension was criticised on the grounds that it could breach international obligations by leaving people stateless.
The Home Office welcomed the court’s judgment: “Citizenship is a privilege not a right and it is right that the home secretary can deprive an individual of their citizenship where it is believed it is conducive to the public good to do so.”
Thursday’s ruling comes as the latest official statistics show that the number of people imprisoned for terrorism-related offences in Britain reached a high of 183 on 31 December 2016 – an increase of 40 on the previous year.