Father’s bid to keep British citizenship for son who went to Syria to join ISIS is thrown out by High Court judge.
In the first case of its kind to reach the High Court, the ISIS recruit’s father, Abdullah Islam challenged the steps taken by Ms Rudd to revoke his son’s citizenship.
He wanted his son, who is now 22-years-old and being held in a Kurdish-run military prison in Syria, brought back to the UK to face justice and to be protected from facing the death penalty.
Ashraf Mahmud Islam (pictured in an image from his Facebook profile in 2016) travelled to Syria in April 2015 to join ISIS. In 2017,
Ashraf Mahmud Islam travelled to the middle-eastern country aged just 18 in April 2015 while he was studying A-level law at a British educational establishment in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The decision to deprive Ashraf of his citizenship was communicated in a letter from Ms Rudd, then home secretary, which was received by Mr Islam in July 2017.
The letter stated the decision was taken because Ashraf was assessed as;
“Posing a risk to ‘national security”.
Ms Rudd also said she did not believe that stripping him of his British nationality would make him ‘stateless’, as he also has Bangladeshi citizenship.
Yesterday, however, his case was rejected as having ‘no merit’ by a judge.
At London’s High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Pepperall (pictured) dismissed Abdullah Islam’s case for his son to be given back his British citizenship.
Mr Justice Pepperall said:
“Ashraf is in detention in Syria and at risk of trial in the Middle East and the possible imposition of the death penalty entirely because of his own actions in travelling to Syria and engaging in jihad.”
“The only action taken by the home secretary, in this case,e has been to deprive Ashraf of his citizenship.”
“He is not in peril in Syria because of that decision, but because he is being held on suspicion of involvement in the IS insurgency.’
The judge said Ashraf was born in London and ‘appeared to have every advantage in life’, living with his father, a barrister, and his mother.
Ashraf said he had travelled to Syria in 2015 to “help the Syrian people”. He didn’t confirm his starting location but said he reached Syria through Turkey and eventually made it to Raqqa.
Ashraf claimed he joined Isis because they were one of the few groups that would “accept foreigners” and had mixed with British fighters, including Jihadi Jack. He said he hadn’t met Jihadi John.
He claims he later lost heart and, after moving to the east of Deir Ezzor, and said he surrendered to the YPG.
When interviewed by ITV he didn’t discuss his combat role and the extent of his actions during his time in Syria;
The British government has repeatedly made steps to revoke the citizenship of people who have fled to Syria to help Islamic State.
Shamima Begum, who fled the UK to join the terror group in aged 15, was in February of this year stripped of her British citizenship by then home secretary Sajid Javid.
Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed earlier this year that more than 100 dual nationals who travelled to join IS have had their UK citizenship stripped by the Home Office.
At a hearing in London in June, Mr Islam’s lawyers argued Ms Rudd failed to implement a proper policy regarding the citizenship of British nationals abroad who are at a real risk of being subjected to breaches of their human rights.
They also said that issuing the decision while Ashraf was abroad meant he was possibly still unaware of it, and therefore unable to appeal himself, and that steps should be taken to return him to the UK.
However, refusing permission for a full judicial review hearing, Mr Justice Pepperall said there were no arguable grounds for challenging Ms Rudd’s decision.
He said: ‘It is not clear how the home secretary is under any legal duty to make arrangements to repatriate Ashraf in order that he can be tried in the UK.
Ashraf got himself to Syria and might well have committed serious criminal offences in the Middle East.
However repugnant his possible fate might be too British values, any British citizen who commits serious crimes abroad is subject to local justice and cannot simply demand that the British government extricates him from a situation of his own making in order that he can face the more palatable prospect of justice in a British court.
The British government routinely urges foreign states to respect the human rights of its citizens who are suspected or convicted of crimes overseas and, in particular, argues against the imposition of the death penalty anywhere in the world.
The United Kingdom cannot, however, properly insist that foreign states allow our own courts to try British citizens for offences committed abroad.’
The judge said Ashraf may still challenge the decision to deprive him of his citizenship through the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC).
However, he said even in the event of a successful challenge Ashraf could only return to the UK if released by his Kurdish captors and freely allowed to leave Syria by the authorities.
One of the reasons the DFLA was formed was because of the threat posed by returning Jihadists adding to those already amongst us, so this decision is very welcome, these jihadists have made their beds so will have to lie in them, you can’t decide to change your mind and expect to be allowed back because ISIS has been defeated in those regions,
No doubt all the social justice warriors will be up in arms and the usual suspects from the far-left will be out campaigning and screaming;
“what about his human rights?”
Well, unluckily for him, he forfeited those rights when he signed up to a barbaric terrorist group called ISIS.