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Since everyone is just waking up to the practice of citizenship stripping after the case of #ShaminaBegum, let me take you on a little tour...
It starts in 2002 with the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act.

The bill lets the government remove British citizenship from dual nationals deemed to be 'seriously prejudicial to the vital interests' of the UK

It forbids making people stateless legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/41/…
Crucially, it revived a long-dormant legal concept of "royal prerogative" - that is, in antiquity, the sovereign could rule on matters of law without resorting to the judiciary.

It was never really gotten rid of, just superseded by more modern writs en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_pre…
So the government took it upon itself to circumvent the courts in matters deemed related to national security.

Remember this was in the months after 9/11; the bill is sort of the UK's version of the PATRIOT Act
Its first known use in the UK was on Abu Hamza

The Egyptian-born hate preacher was stripped of his UK nationality in 2003, but he appealed, successfully, on the grounds that it rendered him stateless.

He was eventually tried and convicted in 2014 bbc.com/news/world-us-…
In 2006, following the 7/7 London bombings, the government further amends its citizenship stripping powers, allowing the home secretary to remove UK nationality from individuals deemed 'not conducive to the public good'

Statelessness remains prohibited
On July 5, 2006, Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks became possibly the first person to gain and lose his British citizenship on the same day.

He was released in 2007 and has written a book about his experience theguardian.com/uk/2007/jan/11…
In December 2007, Iraqi-born Hilal al-Jedda was stripped of his citizenship. He appealed successfully on the grounds that it left him stateless, yet he was stripped a second time after the UK amends its legislation (we will get to this) thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2014-0…
Over the course of the next 7 years, at least 53 British nationals were stripped of the their citizenship using prerogative power. You can take a look at the full list here: thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2014-0…
Two of them, Bilal al-Berjawi and Mohamed Sakr, were assassinated by a US drone in Somalia in 2012. A 3rd, Mahdi Hashi, was secretly rendered to a US prison, held in solitary confinement and sentenced in 2016 to 9 years in jail for terror-related offences thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2016-0…
Myself and @aliceross_ broke the news in 2013 that the UK was stripping the citizenship of its nationals that traveled to join the war in #Syria. It appears Begum falls into this category independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…
But the UK government kept encountering a problem.

Since many countries don't allow dual nationality (Iraq and Pakistan, notably), when the home office stripped dual nationals of their British citizenship they were breaking their own law that prohibited statelessness
Permit me here a brief aside on statelessness.

Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that every human has the right to a nationality. Citizenship is nothing more or less than a state of being where an individual is afforded basic, fundamental rights
By contrast, statelessness has been likened to a "form of medieval exile", in which an individual lacks any recourse, avenue for appeal or redemption or rehabilitation, access to legal life and work, etc etc. Here's Matthew Gibney from @refugeestudies
Essentially, the UK government was - *on the sole basis of a single minister's caprice*, and without trial - eternally casting its own citizens into a legal, social and civic hole from which it is nearly impossible to escape thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2014-0…
It is worth recalling here that every person mentioned in this thread who had their UK citizenship removed were at the time suspects. They had not been tried, much less convicted of a crime

Britain's 1000-yr habeas corpus record was being steamrolled by a minister with a stamp
But this wasn't enough for Theresa May (then home secretary)

In 2014 she introduced a clause in the Immigration Act that would allow her to strip the nationality of citizens *even if it rendered them stateless* legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/22/…
Note the wording here, which is now Sajid Javid's argument for Begum's case:

"reasonable grounds for believing that the person is able, under the law of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom, to become a national of such a country or territory"

This is hokum
You are either a citizen or you aren't. It is not within the purview of the UK to determine which individual may or may not be granted citizenship by another country.

That's like me demolishing your house and saying you're not homeless because you could in theory build another
Begum's lawyers are featuring prominently in the media because they have a prominent client.

But I covered cases where a suspect was hopelessly lost, literally and figuratively, in a system stacked overwhelmingly in favour of executive fiat over judicial fair process
Firstly, when you get your citizenship stripped, you receive a letter saying you have 28 days to appeal the home secretary's decision.

Or you would, if you were in the country, which you won't be, because that's how this works thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2014-0…
Next, you aren't made aware of what it is you're supposed to have done.

The letters look a bit like these (I've seen multiple ones and they all speak only in the vaguest of terms)
If you don't manage to appeal in time because you don't receive the letter within the appeal window: tough. That's you, forever

This happened to a man named in court documents as E2. I tracked him down to Pakistan, where he lives in fear for his life independent.co.uk/news/world/asi…
If you are however fortunate to appeal in time, you then get funneled to the SIAC - the Special Immigration Appeals Committee

This is where things get really Kafkaesque
Because we are now dealing with matters concerning national security, or so we must trust the home secretary, the appellant's representative must be vetted by the intelligence services. They then aren't allowed to see the evidence against their client
They are nearly always a legal aid lawyer, hopeless disorientated because their client is denied the universal right of knowing the nature of of the charges and evidence against you
On the other side of the courtroom is a team of home office lawyers, separated by a white screen from a murmuring chorus of men who are clearly intelligence officers, whose word we cannot hear but which can condemn Brits to a lifetime in the shadows
There have been at least 81 people treated like this in recent years - we don't know how many precisely because you need to gather the figures from FOI requests (or parliamentary questions)

We actually were banned from making FOIs to the home office, but appealed and won
I guess to sum up:

Citizenship stripping and statelessness run contrary to every legal, human rights, security and moral norm. It is to be expected from a home office that has given us hostile environment, racist vans, Windrush and stop-and-search profiling
But it cuts deeper than that. It raises fundamental questions of what it means to be British, or to be a citizen anywhere.

And think about this: If I was Shamima Begum, I'd still have my British nationality today.

She doesn't because she has Bangladeshi heritage. Is that fair?
People asking how is this legal.

The 2014 Immigration Act essentially created 2 tiers of British citizenship:

- Those with no foreign roots (i.e. British-born, British ancestry) who can't be stripped
- Those with some foreign roots (i.e. dual-national or naturalised) who can
It passed through our elected and unelected houses, was signed by the Queen and it is now enshrined in British law that any home secretary, however incompetent or sinister, can make some but not all UK national stateless at the stroke of their pen
#UPDATE: The British Home Secretary just told MPs that 150 people have had their UK citizenship stripped under this process since 2010

Given citizenship-stripping is executive, and only appeal judicial, all 150 were by definition innocent when the orders were given
Some of those people are possibly guilty of very serious offences. We will now never know. Stripping their citizenship doesn't let them face justice, it just means they are cast adrift, free in theory to go on to commit other serious offences
In any case, if - as the home secretary asks us to trust him on:

- These people are guilty of crimes
- He has evidence to prove this

Then, under the British legal system, we should prosecute them, not renounce all ties to and responsibilities for them, surely?
Aside from its inherent discrimination, the law fails from both a human rights and a security perspective.

It deprives some (but not all) British nationals of basic freedoms and protections, and it doesn't keep us safe
It also places unjustifiable power over people's lives in the hands of the home secretary.

Theresa May and Sajid Javid may not be monsters but it's hard to argue they are exceptional or even baseline-competent ministers. They are making life-or-death decisions based on a hunch
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