UK govt loses case against alleged ISIS member
The UK government has lost its latest legal bid to strip a woman of her British citizenship for allegedly deciding to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Syria, after the Court of Appeal agreed she must be given prior notice before its removal.
The woman, who has only been identified as ‘D4’, is thought to be currently detained within the same Syrian camp as Shamima Begum, who was stripped of her British citizenship in 2019 and told she will never be allowed to return to the UK.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeal stated that, while there may be “good policy reasons” to give the home secretary the power to strip people of citizenship without notice, it is currently “not lawful.”
As such, the judge upheld an earlier High Court ruling that the attempt to strip D4 of her citizenship was “void and of no effect” because she was not notified and was unaware it had happened for 10 months.
The UK government is currently seeking to pass legislation through parliament that would give the home secretary the legal authority to deprive people of citizenship without notice. If passed, she would be able to do so in cases where it would “not be reasonably practicable” or “in the interests of the relationship between the UK and another country.”
Alleged IS members are believed to make up the majority of the 150 individuals whose British citizenship was revoked since 2014 under legislation that allows removal when it is “conducive to the public good.” However, the figures available only cover up to the end of 2019, as the government hasn’t published an annual report on the matter in two years.
An analysis by Free Movement, a group that seeks to provide information to individuals affected by immigration control, believes that, at least, 464 people have lost their British citizenship over the past 15 years. Since 2006, 175 lost their nationality on national security grounds, while 289 saw it stripped away for fraud.