|The Independent on Saturday published a feature article interviewing the parents of Mohamed Sakr, a British-Egyptian citizen who was stripped of his British citizenship and subsequently killed in a drone attack in Somalia last February.
The paper earlier published the findings of a Bureau of Investigative Journalism study on the revocation of British citizenship from dual nationals suspected of “involvement in terrorist activities”. The Bureau found that “Home Secretary Theresa May has ramped up the use of powers allowing her to strip UK citizenship from dual nationals without first proving wrong-doing in the courts.”
Sakr’s parents question the evidence proving their son was "involved in terrorism-related activity".
"Do they have any evidence against them that they have been involved in this or that? I haven't seen it. And they haven't come up with it," says Mr Sakr.
"This is the hardest time we have ever come across in our family life,' Mr Sakr said in tears.
"I'll never stop blaming the British Government for what they did to my son. They broke my family."
"It never crossed my mind that something here in Britain would happen like this, especially as Mohamed had no other passport, no other nationality. He was brought up here: all his life is here," his mother said"
Marco Scalvini, in an essay for Open Democracy, writes of the concerns expressed by human rights groups on the ‘arbitrary’ powers to strip citizenship including:
1) deprivation of citizenship is exercised by the Home Secretary on the grounds of the “the public good” without proving a breach of law; 2) the revocation is carried out without any sort of due process or transparency; 3) those who are deprived of their citizenship have only 28 days to appeal to a court before being deported; 4) deprivation is also applied to those who were born and raised in the UK and have never been charged with any crime.
Noting the use of the powers in particular against those who hold dual nationality, Scalvini notes:
“Before 9/11, those immigrants who were naturalized and suspected of being disloyal could be stripped of their passport, while native-born nationals have been always considered safe. In fact, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that 5 of the 21 people deprived of their citizenships were actually born in the UK. At the same time, citizenship deprivation can be only applied to dual nationals in order to avoid statelessness, as the UK adopted the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.”
BBC Radio 4 in the programme, Law in Action, last Thursday explored the issue in relation to Mahdi Hashi, another British citizen stripped of citizenship and facing trial in the US on terrorism charges.
"My son has been abandoned by the British authorities," his father, Mohamed Hashi, told Law in Action.
"It's easier for them just to pass him to the Americans instead of extraditing him later on."
"There has been no public outrage at the introduction of simple, near-arbitrary deprivation of British citizenship, even for the British-born," says Caroline Sawyer, a senior lecturer in law at Victoria University of Wellington, in the Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law.”
You can still catch the Radio 4 programme here.