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Shamima Begum case

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1314224.  Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:40 pm Reply with quote

Sundry lawyers have now spoken to sundry media outlets on this issue, and they nearly all say the same thing: that if Ms Begum takes this matter to a British court she will win and the government will lose.

The government does still have the nuclear option of intentionally making Ms Begum stateless. It has never been done and it runs contrary to several UN conventions, but Britain does assert that power under the Immigration Act 2014.

Should that be tried, one would imagine that the matter would end up before the European Court of Human Rights. Despite what some on Facebook appear to believe, Britain will not cease to be subject to that court in a month's time - and the government is probably 95% sure that it is 95% likely to lose if a case hinging on that nuclear power should make its way to the ECHR.

As I see it, the government now has two choices. It can cross its fingers and hope that Ms Begum goes away, and then blame everyone but itself when she doesn't go away and the government loses in court. Alternatively, it can claim that its statement of yesterday has been "misunderstood", and announce that Ms Begum's British citizenship has not been revoked.

The tabloids really aren't going to like the latter, but does the government actually have much choice?

1314230.  Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:00 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
As I see it, the government now has two choices. It can cross its fingers and hope that Ms Begum goes away, and then blame everyone but itself when she doesn't go away and the government loses in court. Alternatively, it can claim that its statement of yesterday has been "misunderstood", and announce that Ms Begum's British citizenship has not been revoked.

The tabloids really aren't going to like the latter, but does the government actually have much choice?

I suppose if the Government think there are votes in leaving the ECHR too, then they might see a benefit to seeing the case through, knowing that they will lose, but that plenty of anti-human rights sentiment will be whipped up in the process. And ultimately they can still blame the outcome on Europe.

I can't quite decide whether I'm being overly cynical or whether such a tactic would be entirely in keeping with their appalling behaviour to date in this case.

1314231.  Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:13 pm Reply with quote

The ERG certainly wants to withdraw from the European Convention on (and hence the European Court of) Human Rights, and Mrs May used to say that so does she.

She knows that she can't get that through the present Parliament, just as Mr Cameron knew that he couldn't get it past the LibDems in the Coalition days. Furthermore, she seems to accept that being kicked out of the Council of Europe - as we necessarily would be - would be less than optimal. Having less concern for human rights than Russia does is hardly a ringing endorsement, and it's a charge that would surely be laid.

So it's on the backburner for now, and will remain there until there is a different leader. But as regards your last sentence, you are not being overly cynical.

1314236.  Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:18 am Reply with quote

If the PM's Brexit deal goes through, we won't be able to leave the ECHR. The political declaration on the future relationship states:

"The future relationship should incorporate the United Kingdom's continued commitment to respect the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), while the Union and its Member States will remain bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which reaffirms the rights as they result in particular from the ECHR."

1314240.  Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:36 am Reply with quote

Meanwhile Dirty Donald is jumping on the bandwagon, although I can't help thinking the far more robust US approach constitutional rights will just make this another case where he's thrown back into his box. I'm pretty sure that no US president can strip citizenship - if the power exists at all it must surely lie with a court, after due process with representation and respect for the citizen's rights.


1314250.  Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:58 am Reply with quote

Although in the American case, apparently there are videos of the lady burning an American passport - perhaps that can be construed as voluntarily renouncing citizenship?
Otherwise, I don't think he has a leg to stand on. If she was born in the US, there must be records attesting to that fact. If she applied for and received a passport, it will be registered somewhere.

1314268.  Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:16 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
I read on Facebook (not a great source...) that the Bangladeshis have said they will not allow her to claim Bangladeshi citizenship, which must surely put a spanner in the works of the British government, as she would be stateless.

It's a bit of a weird one. There's a good article on the BBC website which covers some of the legal implications. The first thing to notice is that it currently seems unclear if Ms Begum is indeed entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship. The BBC simply state that "she was born to a mother believed to be Bangladeshi." (my emphasis)

Assuming her mother is Bangladeshi, the law states that Ms Begum would automatically qualify for Bangladeshi citizenship, even without having visited the country. However, the weird complication is that this citizenship vanishes when Ms Begum reaches the age of 21 unless she takes active steps to preserve it.

I guess if Mr Javid had succeeded in removing her British citizenship by that point, the Bangladeshi government would be prevented from rendering Ms Begum stateless. However, if the legal wrangles drag on, as was suggested yesterday, for a couple of years, then her Bangladeshi citizenship may lapse before her British citizenship has been successfully removed.

Alexander Howard
1314385.  Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:45 am Reply with quote

Guido has found some strong statements by Labour's real leader, John McDonnell, to the effect that those going to fight for foreign armies in the Middle East should be stripped of their citizenship:

1316027.  Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:48 am Reply with quote

Just seen this in Australia's media where the latest baby has also died it seems.

Alexander Howard
1316030.  Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:36 am Reply with quote

There are things which must not be expressed in grand statements, praise or judgment on abstract principles, ideology and rhetoric cast over the heads of a cowed audience. There are things which cannot be expressed upon, and must be met in silence, and one is this: a mother weeping over her silent child.

1316078.  Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:42 pm Reply with quote

Yes. However one feels about Ms Begum, it's a sad thing for a young mother to lose even one baby, let alone three.

1316230.  Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:11 am Reply with quote

Here's an illuminating, and rather alarming, report on what's left of the IS caliphate from the BBC's Quentin Sommerville:

1327974.  Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:42 am Reply with quote

Maybe this should go in the "upcoming programmes" thread elsewhere, but I figured it might spark more discussion.

On wednesday at 8pm, Radio 4 will be broadcasting the latest episode of the series "Unreliable Evidence" hosted by Clive Anderson. The show will be covering the pros and cons of depriving someone of their citizenship, with a particular focus on the case of Shamima Begum. Arguing the case will be Lord Carlile, described as a "former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation", and immigration lawyer Fahad Ansari.

If you can't listen to the show as it's broadcast, it'll be available afterwards here:

1327992.  Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:34 am Reply with quote

Thanks dr.bob - that might well be interesting.

1328293.  Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:41 am Reply with quote

If you've got 42 minutes to kill, you could do worse than listen to it. As well as the two participants mentioned above, the programme also features Karen Doyle, a campaigner from Movement For Justice which is an organisation bringing cases trying to expand the Windrush scheme, and Professor Thom Brooks from Durham Law School.

The aforementioned Fahad Ansari is described as an Irish citizen of Pakistani descent living in the UK. Ms Doyle is also an Irish citizen living in the UK. Prof Brooks has dual US/UK nationality. Lord Carlile's nationality isn't mentioned, so I guess he must be 100% British.

The discussion is interesting, raises a lot of points, and airs different views without specifically deciding that one view is more right than the other. That's left very much for the listener to decide.

Mr Ansari at one point claims that the citizenship rules are by design and by application racist. Lord Carlile made a good rebuke that, by design, they're not racist as he points out there are plenty of black and asian British people with full British citizenship who have the same unalienable right to UK citizenship as white Britons. However, he concedes that the application may well be racist, particularly given the case of Jack Letts.

Mr Letts is dual national British/Canadian citizen. Like Shamima Begum, he grew up in the UK. Like Shamima Begum, he travelled to Syria to join ISIS and now wants to come back to the UK. Unlike Shamima Begum, he actually joined ISIS as a fighter (though he claims he never killed anyone). Unlike Shamima Begum, he's white. Shamima Begum had her UK citizenship revoked. Jack Letts didn't.

Interestingly, everyone on the panel are pretty convinced that the Home Secretary acted too rashly in the Shamima Begum case and that the decision will ultimately be overturned in the courts.

There's a lot of discussion about whether citizenship is a right or a privilege. The panel splits much as you might expect, though good points are made on both sides.

They also discuss the Windrush scandal and how this was a combination of both incompetence on behalf of successive governments who should've seen it coming, and malicious intent from the Home Office as part of the intentionally hostile environment for immigrants.

There's a discussion about the "Life in the UK" test and how unrealistic the test is. Clive Anderson suggests that people should simply be asked to explain why the phrase "Don't tell him Pike!" is funny and, if they can, they should be let in :) A few people also make the point that the citizenship process is overly expensive, which is discriminatory against poor people.

All in all, well worth a listen.


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