Three British-Bangladeshis 'who went to join Isis' win appeal against citizenship removal

18 March 2021, 19:38 | Updated: 18 March 2021, 19:48

The Home Office removed the citizenship of the trio in 2019 and 2020
The Home Office removed the citizenship of the trio in 2019 and 2020. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Three British-Bangladeshis who "travelled to Syria to join Isis" have won an appeal against the removal of their UK citizenship after a tribunal ruled the move left them stateless.

Two of the group are women, known only as C3 and C4, who were born in the UK.

They had their British citizenship revoked in November 2019, with the Home Office saying the decision was made on the grounds of national security.

The other individual is a man known as C7, who was born in Bangladesh but became a British citizen at birth, who had his citizenship taken away in March 2020.

Government officials said this decision was made as he had "aligned" with Isis and was a threat to UK national security.

All three appealed against the removal of their British citizenship at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in November.

People can use the specialist tribunal to challenge decisions to remove their British citizenship on national security grounds.

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Last month, Shamima Begum lost an appeal to have her UK citizenship reinstated
Last month, Shamima Begum lost an appeal to have her UK citizenship reinstated. Picture: LBC

The Home Office argued that all three were dual British-Bangladeshi nationals at the time their citizenship was revoked, therefore the decision did not render them stateless.

However, the lawyers of the trio said all three lost their Bangladeshi citizenship when they turned 21, meaning the decision did leave them stateless and as a result was unlawful.

In a ruling on Thursday, Mr Justice Chamberlain said: "C3, C4 and C7 have persuaded us that, on the dates when the decisions and the orders in their cases were made, they 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."

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A Home Office spokesman said after the ruling: "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."

Maya Foa, director of human rights group Reprieve, said: "This ruling confirms that in the home secretary's rush to abdicate responsibility for these women she broke domestic and international law by rendering them stateless.

"Reprieve has established that many people from Britain currently detained in north-east Syria fit the definition of trafficked persons.

"The government was wrong to remove citizenship from these women.

"Now that it has been restored, the government should repatriate them so that the British justice system can address the full complexity of their cases, including the real possibility they are victims of trafficking."