European Court Allows French Move to Strip Terrorists of Citizenship

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 20: Police officers secure the area after a gunman opened fire on Champs Elysees on April 20, 2017 in Paris, France. One police officer has been killed, and a second injured by a gunman on The Champs Elysees. Security is heightened in Paris with the first …
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The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that France has not violated the human rights of five men who were stripped of their citizenship after terrorist convictions.

The ECtHR ruled on Thursday that France’s decision to strip the citizenship of four Franco-Moroccans and one Franco-Turkish man was legitimate. It said the move “did not have disproportionate consequences for their private lives”.

The court deemed that “terrorist violence in itself constitutes a serious threat to human rights” and added that the loss of French nationality had not made any of the men stateless as they had dual citizenship — and none were automatically deported as a result of the decision.

The Strasbourg court also pointed out that the men had only just acquired French citizenship before they engaged in terrorist acts, Le Figaro reports.

The five men had been sentenced in 2007 for “participation in a criminal association for the preparation of a terrorist act”. They were said to be linked to Moroccan terrorists who killed 45 people in Casablanca in 2003. They were stripped of their French citizenship in 2015 after being released from prison in 2009 and 2010.

The lawyers for the five men attempted to argue that the removal of citizenship was like punishing the men twice for the same act. They also claimed the men had now integrated into French society.

The ruling against them could set a precedent for other terrorists who have had their citizenships stripped by European countries and may want to take their cases to the ECtHR.

Islamic State bride Shamima Begum is currently attempting to reverse a decision to strip her British citizenship. Earlier this year, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) rejected her appeal, claiming that the move did not make her stateless.

Begum, whose parents are both Bangladeshi migrants, has appealed against the SIAC decision to the Court of Appeal.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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