UK strips British jihadists(!) of citizenship to prevent their return
Secret use of citizenship-stripping powers has been dramatically stepped up as Theresa May moves to prevent the return of dual-nationals who have gone to fight in Syria.
The Home Secretary has so far revoked the British citizenship of 20 people this year – more than in her previous two- and-a-half years combined.
She has removed the citizenship of 37 people since May 2010, according to figures collated by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Critics warned the practice could leave individuals at risk of torture and ill-treatment in their home countries.
Security sources are particularly alarmed because Syria’s proximity to Europe makes it easier for violent UK-based extremists to travel to and from the country.
A former senior Foreign Office official said it was an “open secret” that British nationals fighting in the Syrian war were increasingly losing their citizenship.
He said that “This [deprivation of citizenship] is happening. There are somewhere between 40 and 240 Brits in Syria, and we are probably not as quick as we should be to strip their citizenship.”
Ms May has the power to terminate the British citizenship of dual-nationality individuals if she believes their presence in the UK is “not conducive to the public good” or if they have obtained it through fraudulent means.
The Home Office declined to explain the reason for the rise, but it said: “Citizenship is a privilege, not a right, and the Home Secretary will remove British citizenship from individuals where she feels it is conducive to the public good to do so.”