Fears dozens of jihadists could attempt to return to UK after court ruling

2 August 2021, 07:11

Atma Refugee Camp on the Turkish border, Syria
Atma Refugee Camp on the Turkish border, Syria. Picture: Alamy
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Dozens of jihadists could try to return to the UK after a court ruling, it is feared.

The woman from the north of England, known only as D4, had her citizenship removed in 2019 for what government sources say were reasons of national security.

She had reportedly travelled to the Middle East to 'align with the so-called Islamic State' and she remains in the same camp in al-Roj, northeast Syria that houses Shamima Begum.

A High Court judge has now found the grandmother was unlawfully stripped of her British citizenship.

High Court judges ruled Friday that the move to suspend her rights as a UK national was unlawful because the Home Office failed to inform her it was doing so, reports the Times.

Their legal verdict did not dispute the decision to remove her citizenship, rather the method of doing so.

The judgment is reported to have sent panic through Whitehall because it could lead to dozens of jihadists claiming the right to return to the UK.

The Times newspaper reported one senior official branded the ruling “nuts”, while a second said: “It will open up the prospect of people judged to be a national security risk being sent back here.”

The woman is said to be staying at the Roj camp in northeast Syria, home to jihadi bride Begum, 21, whose bid to return to Britain sparked a national debate.

The ruling on Friday concluded: “The Home Secretary’s failure to give notice of her decision to deprive D4 of her citizenship invalidates the order.”

David Davis, the former Tory cabinet minister, said: “This chaotic outcome demonstrates that we need to revisit this policy so these people are treated with justice, but people liable for crimes are dealt with under British law.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The government will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security and the priority remains the safety of our citizens. We are carefully considering the implications of this ruling, including an application to appeal.”