Since 2002, the British government has stripped 21 people of their citizenship on national security grounds. According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), “Changes to the law in 2002 allowed Britain’s Home Secretary to deprive dual-nationality Britons of their citizenship on national security grounds, without any prior approval from the courts.” In addition to affecting persons with dual citizenship born outside the UK, The Bureau has identified at least five cases where British-born people have lost their UK nationality.
Only two of the 21 people have been able to appeal, while others remain exiled.
Furthermore, TBIJ reports that the law “allows those stripped of their citizenship to be killed or ‘rendered’ without any onus on the British government to intervene.” In 2012, two of the exiled citizens were killed by US drone strikes while in Somalia.
Two years prior, the UK removed the British citizenship of Anna Chapman, a Russian-born woman and dual-citizen of the UK, when she was suspected of being a Russian spy. Chapman’s case did receive corporate media coverage—though she was regularly referred to a “Sexy Russian Spy” or as a “hot-bodied Russian spy babe,” terms that trivialized the seriousness of the accusations and having her citizenship revoked. The corporate media has yet to address the issues raised by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, including how the British government abuses its power to revoke citizenship, thus washing its hands of British nationals suspected of terrorism.
Chris Woods and Alice K. Ross, “‘Medieval Exile’: The 21 Britons stripped of their citizenship,” The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, February 26, 2013. http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/02/26/medieval-exile-the-21-britons-stripped-of-their-citizenship/
Chris Woods and Alice K. Ross, “Former British citizens killed by drone strikes after passports revoked,” The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, February 27, 2013. http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/02/27/former-british-citizens-killed-by-drone-strikes-after-passports-revoked/
Chris Woods, Alice K. Ross and Oliver Wright, “British terror suspects quietly stripped of citizenship… then killed by drones,” The Independent, February 28, 2013. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/british-terror-suspects-quietly-stripped-of-citizenship-then-killed-by-drones-8513858.html
Don Kaplan, “Gadgets used by Russian spy Anna Chapman on display in New York exhibit,” The New York Post, May 18, 2012. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/we_ve_got_the_goods_on_spy_anna_nMis1keY3Zn5ut9DVBjOYM
Michael Schwirtz, “Russian Spy? Maybe So. TV Darling, Absolutely.” The New York Times, December 30, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/world/europe/31chapman.html?_r=2&
Student Researcher: Javier Figueroa, College of Marin
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth, College of Marin