Islamic State Fighter ‘Jihadi Jack’ Has Citizenship Stripped By British Government

islamic state fighters
GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

A Muslim convert who left Britain to join the Islamic State terror group in 2014 has had his citizenship revoked by the Home Office.

Jack Letts, known as ‘Jihadi Jack’ in the media, was 18 when he left his home and school in Oxford to travel to Syria in order to join the radical Islamic terrorist insurgency. He was imprisoned upon being captured by Kurdish forces while attempting to flee to Turkey in May of 2017.

The Home Office said that it does not comment on individual cases, it did release the following statement: “Decisions on depriving a dual national of citizenship are based on substantial advice from officials, lawyers and the intelligence agencies and all available information. This power is one way we can counter the terrorist threat posed by some of the most dangerous individuals and keep our country safe.”

Under international law, governments are nots supposed to strip anyone of their citizenship if it would leave them “stateless” — but Letts was also held Canadian citizenship through his father.

Speaking in an interview to BBC’s Quentin Sommerville, the jihadist had admitted: “I know I was definitely an enemy of Britain.”

After being asked why he left the United Kingdom to join the jihadist group, he said: “I thought I was leaving something behind and going to something better.”

Letts told ITV News earlier this year that he wanted to return to the United Kingdom as he felt British — but understood it was unlikely he would be able to.

“I’m not going to say I’m innocent. I’m not innocent. I deserve what comes to me. But I just want it to be… appropriate… not just haphazard, freestyle punishment in Syria,” he said at the time.

It is understood that the decision to strip Letts of his citizenship was taken by then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid as one of the final acts of Theresa May’s government.

The decision comes after Mr Javid had earlier in the year announced that Islamic State bride Shamima Begum’s citizenship would be revoked. Mr Javid said at the time that he would not “shy away from using those powers at my disposal to protect this country“.

However, Andrew Mitchell, the former Foreign Aid minister, complainted to The Times that, “As a member of the United Nations security council, Britain sets a bad example to other countries if we do not take responsibility for such dangerous, evil people, as a result of rescinding their citizenship.”

“It is not in our own interests or those of other innocent countries that such people should be left stateless and unaccountable. What if Canada follows this bad example?” he added — although he did not make it clear why it would be the interests of the British people to take in “dangerous, evil people”.

Why Letts should not simply become the responsibility of the authorities which captured the territory of the physical caliphate to which he defected was also left unclear.

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