UK court ruling opens door for return of Islamic State terror recruits
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Three Britons who traveled to Syria to join Daesh have won an appeal against a government ruling that stripped them of their citizenship, in a decision that could open the door for more terrorists to re-enter the UK.
A judge ruled on Friday that two women and a man had been rendered stateless by a Home Office move that stripped them of their British citizenship. It is illegal under international law to make someone stateless.
All three people are Bangladeshi by ethnicity, but did not have Bangladeshi citizenship when their British citizenship was revoked.
Under Bangladeshi law, any blood line to a Bangladeshi-born citizen retains the country’s citizenship until the age of 21.
The trio were said by the British government to be a threat to national security because of their links to Daesh, and were thus stripped of their citizenship to prevent them returning.
The judge said the three “were not nationals of Bangladesh or any other state apart from the UK. This means that orders depriving them of their British citizenship would make them stateless.”
The judge added: “The secretary of state had no power to make orders with that effect. For that reason — and that reason alone — the appeals against the decisions to make those orders succeed.”
Upon return to the UK, government sources said they will be subject to counterterror investigations and restricted movements, contacts, and use of the Internet and phones.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are extremely disappointed with this judgment and the court’s decision that deprivation cannot stand in these cases. The government’s priority remains maintaining the safety and security of the UK.”
The ruling could mean that more people rendered stateless while in Syria have their British citizenship returned.
High-profile cases such as that of British-Bangladeshi Shamima Begum, who traveled to Syria to join Daesh when she was 15, could be influenced by the ruling.
She was 19 when she was stripped of her citizenship, but is now 21 and so may not be eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship.
It is unclear exactly how many British adults remain in Syria in camps administered by the West’s Kurdish allies, but politicians such as Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood have previously warned that blocking their return to the UK may not be in the nation’s best security interests.
He said last year: “We’ll see a repeat of Al-Qaeda regrouping and becoming a very real threat, and that threat won’t just pose itself in the Middle East, but also to Britain.”
Source: Arab News