Post by Focus on Feb 28, 2013 20:30:13 GMT
At least 20 terror suspects have had their British passports torn up on national security grounds to stop them entering the country, it emerged today.
In the last two years alone Home Secretary Theresa May has stripped British citizenship from 16 individuals considered to pose a threat to the UK.
Rules in place for a decade allow ministers to act to revoke passports in a bid to target the so-called ‘enemy within’.
Two men stripped of their British citizenship in 2010 - Bilal al-Berjawi and Mohamed Sak - had links to Somalia's al-Shabaab militant (pictured)
The Home Office today defended the policy from claims it was equivalent to ‘medieval exile’, insisting the British citizenship was ‘a privilege not a right’.
Officials said that from 2002 to September last year 20 citizens were stripped of their passports. A report by the Bureaux for Investigative Journalism, published in The Independent today, suggested the number is 21, of which only two have successfully appealed.
At least five of the 16 to lose their citizenship under the coalition were born in Britain, the report said. One man had lived in the UK for five decades.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Citizenship is a privilege not a right. The Home Secretary has the power to remove citizenship from individuals where she considers it is conducive to the public good. An individual subject to deprivation can appeal to the courts.’
Home Secretary Theresa May, who has revoked 16 passports since 2010, insists British citizenship is a privilege not a right
However, concern has been expressed that after losing British citizenship suspects have been targeted, and in some cases killed, in US drone attacks.
Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, is to write to Mrs May about the scale of the threat posed to Britain.
‘There was clearly always a risk when the law was changed seven years ago that the executive could act to take citizenship away in circumstances that were more frequent or more extensive than those envisaged by ministers at the time,’ Mr Hughes told The Independent.
Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes is demanding the powers be reviewed
‘I’m concerned at the growing number of people who appear to have lost their right to citizenship. I plan to write to the Home Secretary and the Home Affairs Select Committee to ask for their assessment of the situation, and for a review of whether the act is working as intended.’
Two men involved - Bilal al-Berjawi, a British-Lebanese citizen, and British-born friend Mohamed Sakr, who also held Egyptian nationality – travelled to Somalia in 2009.
They are said to have become involved with Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, which has links to al-Qa’ida. Both rose to senior positions in the organisation.
They were stripped of their British nationalities by Mrs May in 2010 and were killed in separate US airstrikes.
Saghir Hussain, Sakr’s former UK solicitor said: ‘It appears that the process of deprivation of citizenship made it easier for the US to then designate Mr Sakr as an enemy combatant, to whom the UK owes no responsibility whatsoever.’
Gareth Peirce, a leading human rights lawyer, said the use of the powers ‘smacked of medieval exile, just as cruel and just as arbitrary’ -- 20!!! ... It should be 2 fcking Million!!!