|BBC News reports on the Home Secretary’s move to deprive terror suspect Hilal Al-Jedda of UK citizenship despite rendering him stateless as a result.|
Hilal Al-Jedda lost his Iraqi nationality when given UK asylum in 2000 and became a British subject. He was arrested in Iraq in 2004 by the US and transferred into UK custody where he was held without charges for three years, until December 2007. Former Labour Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, revoked Al-Jedda's citizenship shortly before he was released but a High Court case had reinstated his right to citizenship after ruling against rendering an individual stateless.
The Home Secretary has the power to revoke citizenship if “satisfied that deprivation would be conducive to the public good,” but it is restricted by Section 40, clause 4 of the British Nationality Act 1981 which precludes revoking citizenship if so doing renders a subject “stateless”.
Theresa May lodged an appeal against High Court decision which led to a Supreme Court ruling in October upholding the decision against rendering an individual stateless upon revoking the right of citizenship.
Last month, Sky News reported on the efforts by the Home Secretary to use the powers to withdraw UK citizenship from terror suspects on grounds that their actions were "seriously prejudicial to the interests of the UK".
Last March, it was reported that the Home Secretary had revoked British nationality from 16 individuals since 2010 including Bilal al-Berjawi, a British-Lebanese citizen and Mohamed Sakr, a British-Egyptian citizen, who have been subsequently killed in drone attacks. The growing use of citizenship deprivation, has not led, argues Caroline Sawyer, a senior lecturer in law at Victoria University of Wellington, to “public outrage at the introduction of simple, near-arbitrary deprivation of British citizenship, even for the British-born.”