Peers demand 650-year-old Treason Act be updated to prosecute returning “jihadists”

Peers have demanded that a 650-year-old Treason Act to be amended to prosecute returning ISIS fighters and their family members who have “betrayed” Britain.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid was grilled during a question time last week after he decided to revoke the British citizenship of an ISIS fighter’s wife, Shamima Begum.

Lord West of Spithead said it was “appropriate that as a nation we show how repugnant this is and how appalling that sort of behaviour is”.

The former security and counter-terrorism minister for Labour mentioned that he found it difficult at times to take people to court people who should have been prosecuted there.

He added: “This seems to me a way it can be done.

“Update the treason law and show these people to be traitors, something that our nation really believes they are.”

Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said a new piece of legislation had already granted more powers to the courts to prosecute.

“I agree the 1351 Treason Act is rather an old Act. Of course it was relatively recently updated in 1861,” she added.

However, Lady Williams said she was not dismissing the demand.

Mr Javid told peers that he would review the Treason Act and the Home Office kept all laws under review.

However, Lady Williams said prosecuting terrorists for treason could “give their actions a political status or glamour they do not deserve, rather than treating them merely as criminals”.

Independent crossbencher Lord Alton of Liverpool stated that while no one wanted to “glamorise such actions”, but anyone who tries justifying the killing of UK citizens in the Manchester Arena attack in 2017 or took up arms against the British army and civilians had “betrayed this country, its people, its values and its laws”.

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