UK: Stripping citizenship could lead to fresh human rights breaches

Under provisions contained in the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act (2002), from 1 April 2003 the Home Secretary can deprive a person of citizenship on vague national interest grounds. Those stripped of citizenship would be refused the right of appeal if the Home Secretary invoked 'national security' or 'public interest' reasons.

Amnesty International fears that any moves to deport those deprived of citizenship could in turn lead to their indefinite detention under the draconian Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA). This 'emergency' legislation granted the Home Secretary powers to order the internment-like detention of non-UK nationals when deportation was not possible.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'Laws on incitement of violence or racial hatred already exist, begging the question: 'why does the government not use them if, as reported, these measures are intended to combat 'extremists'?'

'The government appears to want to strip dual-citizens of citizenship to create the conditions in which to imprison them indefinitely.

'Our fear is that these powers are going to further add to a two-tier justice system in which foreign nationals will be imprisoned without charge or trial.

'Draconian security measures rushed in eighteen months ago have already led to 11 people being held in breach of international fair trial and detention standards.

'You do not protect basic freedoms by undermining basic human rights.'

Background

Of the 11 ATCSA detainees, six are held at HMP Belmarsh, in south-east London, and four in HMP Woodhill, in Buckinghamshire.

An 11th prisoner, Mahmoud Abu Rideh, a Palestinian refugee and torture victim, is held at Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital, a high-security psychiatric hospital in Berkshire, having been transferred from Belmarsh on 24 July 2002. Amnesty International has called for Abu Rideh to be transferred to a low-level secure hospital near his family in London.

Relevant information:

'UK: Basic rights denied after 11 September press release, 5 September 2002: http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/EUR450192002?OpenDocument&of=COUNTR…\UK

UNITED KINGDOM: Rights Denied: the UK's Response to 11 September 2001 report, 5 September 2002: http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/EUR450162002?OpenDocument&of=COUNTR…\UK /p>

UNITED KINGDOM: Amnesty International's Memorandum to the UK Government on Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 report, 5 September 2002: http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/EUR450172002?OpenDocument&of=COUNTR…\UK /p>

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