Public Interest Lawyers today celebrate with their client – Hilal Al-Jedda – a decisive legal victory in the Court of Appeal, which today ruled unanimously that the UK Government’s decision to strip our client of his British citizenship was unlawful.
Mr Al Jedda was born in Iraq in 1957. He came to the United Kingdom in 1992 and claimed asylum. In June 2000 he was granted British citizenship and due to a prohibition on dual nationality in Iraqi law he automatically lost his Iraqi citizenship.
In September 2004 he travelled to Iraq with his family. On 10 October 2004 he was arrested at his sister’s house and taken to a British detention facility in Basra. During his arrest and subsequent detention he alleges that he was seriously tortured and abused by British forces.
The British authorities maintain that his detention was necessary for imperative reasons of security and allege that he was involved in terrorism. Mr Al Jedda vehemently denies those allegations and no criminal charges have ever been brought against him. However, he remained in British custody in Iraq for over three years without charge.
On 14 December 2007, the Home Secretary signed an order depriving Mr Al Jedda of his British citizenship and on 30 December 2007 Mr Al Jedda was released from custody. On his release Mr Al Jedda travelled to Turkey where he remains today.
In January 2008, PIL on behalf of Mr Al Jedda, initiated a legal challenge to the deprivation of his citizenship. We have argued throughout that the deprivation order was unlawful because it rendered Mr Al Jedda stateless which is unlawful under the British Nationality Act. After over four years of litigation the Court of Appeal have today unanimously held in Mr Al Jedda’s favour and declared that the Home Secretary’s decision to strip Mr Al Jedda of his citizenship in December 2007 should be quashed.
Speaking today, Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers said:
“Hilal Al Jedda and his family were thrown into a legal limbo by the British Government when it annulled his British Citizenship without a second thought. It has taken him many years of legal struggle for the Court of Appeal to finally deem that act to be unlawful. He is now one step closer to returning to the home that he loves.”
Tessa Gregory of Public Interest Lawyers added:
“Today’s judgment underlines the need for the Government to exercise more care when taking the draconian step of depriving a British national of their citizenship. It is only fair and right that the Court of Appeal have today ordered the quashing of the Home Secretary’s decision in which, in clear violation of UK law, deprived our client of his British citizenship in circumstances where he was rendered stateless.”
See judgment at http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/media/judgments/2012/al-jeeda-judgment-29032012