, 20 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
A few thoughts on the decision to deprive #ShamimaBegum of her UK citizenship:

1. It is unlawful to deprive someone of their citizenship if this would render them stateless. Making someone stateless is denying them the right to have rights ( as Hannah Arendt put it.
2. Even if someone is entitled to another citizenship but does not possess it at the time of deprivation, they cannot be deprived of their citizenship. Therefore it cannot be argued that someone could apply for another nationality.
3. The UK government did not begin its deprivation policy today. The power has been increasingly used in recent years with 104 citizens deprived in 2017 alone. Those deprived include aid workers and a man who went abroad to support his wife who was giving birth.
4. In the case of UK citizens of Bangladeshi heritage, Bangladeshi law states that they automatically have Bangladeshi citizenship on birth, i.e. they're dual nationals. However, if they do not make an active effort to retain that citizenship when they reach 21, it lapses.
5. Such was the case with E3 and N3, two British citizens of Bangladeshi origin who found themselves deprived of their citizenship when they were abroad in Bangladesh and Turkey respectively. siac.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk/Documents/outc…
6. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) ruled that as they had. not sought to retain their Bangladeshi citizenship before they turned 21, it had automatically lapsed. As a result, the decision to deprive them of their UK citizenship had rendered them stateless.
7. In Shamima Begum's case, my understanding is that she is British born and raised and has never been to Bangladesh. Nevertheless, it may be the case that as she is still 19, ie under 21, her Bangladeshi citizenship technically remains intact. So she is not stateless by law.
8. @sajidjavid was no doubt aware of the ruling in E3 and N3. The bizarre result of this is that young people including teenagers like Begum are more vulnerable to deprivation than mature adults.
9. However, questions do have to be raised as to whether she remains stateless in circumstances where it is virtually impossible for her to obtain evidence of her citizenship or use a single benefit of citizenship in any way. She is in a refugee camp in a war zone.
10. The power too deprive UK citizens of their citizenship can only be used against the children of immigrant parents meaning that the application of the policy is inherently discriminatory in its application. It cannot be used on a white Englishman with white English parents.
11. Of course, Begum's appeal against the decision is not just limited to the statelessness argument. She can also argue that the decision is disproportionate and that there were less punitive measures available to achieve the objective of safeguarding national security.
12. We have over a dozen counter-terrorism acts on the books in this country criminalising even travel to Turkey if it is with the intention to go into Syria, even if you don't get on the plane to Istanbul. Why is the UK so afraid of prosecuting Begum in open court?
13. Either the argument in her case (and in all deprivation cases ) is that there is insufficient evidence to sustain a successful prosecution or that the evidence is not disclosable in open court as it would compromise intelligence.
14. If there is insufficient evidence to prosecute such individuals in open court, then how on earth can they be sanctioned with the severest penalty without any form of due process?
15. The Home Office would much rather deprive them of their citizenship and thereafter defend their decisions, not in open court, but in the mysterious world of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC).
16. SIAC is the judicial body which routinely decides these appeals. A large part of the allegations and evidence is in CLOSED meaning that neither the appellant nor his instructed lawyers are permitted to see it or even know about it, let alone try to challenge it.
17. To provide a semblance of due process, security vetted Special Advocates are appointed by the Attorney General to represent the appellant in the CLOSED hearing. But once they see the secret evidence, they are prohibited from communicating with the appellant or his lawyers.
18. In a case like Begum's, one would have thought that there was adequate evidence to prosecute her for one of the myriad of offences under our counter-terrorism laws specifically created to deal with returnees from Syria. Yet, @sajidjavid has deliberately chosen not to do so.
19. While the UK govt believes that it has washed its hands of Begum, it does still have a responsibility to her baby who is a British citizen, having been born at a time when Begum held UK citizenship. @sajidjavid needs to declare how he intends to deal with that innocent child.
20. The deprivation policy is nothing more than a return to the medieval punishment of banishment and exile against those who were always perceived to be 'foreign'. End of thread.
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