Counter-terrorism / Terrorism offences

Citizenship stripping undermines fair trial

Posted on 11 Jun 2020

  • Human rights organisation intervenes in Shamima Begum’s appeal to uphold right to a fair trial
  • Government has sharply increased use of citizenship-stripping in recent years
  • “Banishing” people a symptom of failing counter-terror policy, says Liberty

Liberty, the human rights organisation, has today intervened in an appeal brought by Shamima Begum to uphold the right to a fair trial in the increasing use of “citizenship stripping” by the Home Office.

Liberty will tell the court that deprivation of citizenship is an extremely draconian power, which exposes people to severe human rights violations. The power is used unevenly, as it only applies to people who the Government says might be eligible for another citizenship. The Government has sharply increased its use in recent years, meaning that due process in these cases is more important than ever.

Liberty lawyer Katie Lines said: “Banishing someone is not the act of a responsible Government of a right-respecting country. The Government has other powers at its disposal, including criminal law, which it can and should use to deal with those suspected of terrorism.

“Due process and the right to a fair trial is not a privilege to be handed out when the Government sees fit. Ensuring we are all equal before the law is a principle that protects all of us.

“Citizenship stripping is the act of a Government shirking its responsibilities. It is just another symptom of the Government’s failing counter-terror policies and underlines the need for wholesale revision of their strategy.”

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