Friday, 22 August 2014

Serious concerns about British citizens fighting abroad

There is growing and serious concern about British nationals going abroad to take part in armed combat in countries such as Syria, Iraq etc.  There are political calls for the government to increase the use of powers that it has in this area to either withdraw passports or deprive an individual of British nationality (e.g. where the individual has dual nationality).  The law is complex.  The following links will be of interest:

British Nationality Act 1981 section 40 - Deprivation of Citizenship

Immigration Act 2014 section 66 - amending section 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981 - this came into force on 28th July 2014.

Parliament - House of Commons Library Standard Note - Immigration Bill: Deprivation of citizenship

Withdrawal of passports - Government statement of 25th April 2013

Previous post 5th February 2014 - Fighting abroad ~ is it against the law?

In  the event that
the United Kingdom gets involved militarily (e.g. in Iraq) then any British citizens fighting against UK forces could possibly be committing treason by 'giving aid and comfort' to the 'Queen's enemies'.  The 'giving of aid and comfort' does not have to be 'in the Realm' - R v Casement [1917] 1 KB 98.   The ancient (and, in many ways, highly unsatisfactory), law on treason is very rarely invoked and has not been charged since 1945.  Since the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, treason no longer attracts the death penalty and such a penalty may no longer be reinstated because of Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights.  In 2008, a Review of Citizenship led by Lord Goldsmith QC considered that treason should be retained but the law modernised - (see the review at page 40).

Addendum 7th September:

Ex-MI6 Chief: encourage UK jihadis to return home - The Guardian 6th September.  The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation  (referred to in The Guardian article) is linked to Kings College London.

Addendum 15th September:

 House of Commons Library blog - Excluding British citizens who pose a security threat: what can the government do?


  1. A number of British citizens who fight abroad appear to have been 'radicalised' in prison in the UK

    Read the interesting article 'The mysterious career of Kazi Rahman. Rahman, who was acquitted of murder in 1996, under the direction of the CPS prosecutor, then turns up in Lahore in October 2001 (as Abdul Salam/Halim) remonstrating about British 'Jihadi' fighting against the US/UK Afghanistan missions. He is then involved with the Operation Crevice/fertiliser 'plot' lot & then gets arrested in November 2005.

    What a tangled web........

    There is a similar story with Aine Davis (a name being mentioned in connection with the current 'Jihadhi John'/Syria Video), who, we are told, went from being a petty criminal to a drug dealer who converted to Islam, becoming further radicalised during a spell in jail.

  2. I think we all know treason when we see it