British aid worker unlawfully stripped of citizenship returns home from exile

UK border. Editorial credit: 1000 Words /

A British aid worker, identified only as “N3,” has returned back to the UK after over 3 years in exile following the stripping of his citizenship in 2017. 

Following extensive litigation, the current Home Secretary Priti Patel was forced to withdraw the decision to take away his passport after conceding that depriving N3 of his citizenship was unlawful.

The 37 year old returns to his mother, wife and young children and has now pledged to finally clear his name.

However, within 24 hours of his return last week Patel imposed a Temporary Exclusion Order (TEO) on N3 in order to manage his return to the UK.

This power enables the Secretary of State (SoS) to temporarily disrupt the return to the UK of a British citizen suspected of involvement in terrorist activity abroad – ensuring that when individuals do return, it is done in a manner which the government controls.

The TEO also empowers the Home Secretary to impose reporting and residence conditions on N3.

British passport

N3 denies any allegations of wrongdoing against him and is assisting the police with their enquiries.

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Throughout the litigation in relation to his citizenship deprivation, N3 has never been shown the evidence against him.

Muhammad Rabbani, Managing Director of CAGE said: “N3 is a veteran aid worker with a strong track record of international relief work. Without any initial judicial oversight, he was stripped of his citizenship and sent into exile without any regard for due process. We welcome this result with guarded optimism for the hundreds of other British nationals that have all been deprived of their basic right to citizenship using ‘secret evidence’. This case highlights the extent to which such executive powers are abused.”

N3’s solicitor Fahad Ansari said: “My client has been systematically targeted by the State for over three years using almost every measure at its disposal to penalise him without having to prove the case against him in an open court of law. This sustained campaign of harassment has deprived his children of their father for too long now and must come to an end.”

N3 was deprived of his citizenship in 2017 on the grounds that he was a threat to national security because of his travels to Syria, and because it deemed he was a Bangladeshi national.

He says he was involved in Syria-related aid work and had travelled to and from the UK regularly prior to losing his citizenship.

N3’s citizenship was restored in 2018 by the Special Immigration Appeals Committee (SIAC), which rejected the government’s argument that he was entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship and had not therefore been left stateless.

The Metropolitan Police said that a 37-year-old man had been arrested at Coquelles on Wednesday on suspicion of terrorism offences. It said a warrant of further detention was granted by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, allowing police to keep the man in custody until Tuesday.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

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