News / Middle East

    Britain May Strip Suspected Islamist Fighters of Passports

    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (C) walks to Parliament after leaving Number 10 Downing Street in London Sep. 1, 2014.
    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (C) walks to Parliament after leaving Number 10 Downing Street in London Sep. 1, 2014.
    Reuters

    Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday announced plans to strip suspected Islamist militants of their passports temporarily, to combat the threat posed by radicalized Britons returning from Syria and Iraq.

    The proposals come days after Cameron raised Britain's terrorism alert to its second-highest level, saying the Islamic State group  in Syria and Iraq posed the country's greatest-ever security risk.

    A video released last month by the Islamic State militants, purporting to show a man with a London accent man beheading a U.S. journalist, led to concern that Britons fighting in the region could return and launch attacks on British soil.

    “We have all been shocked and sickened by the barbarism we have witnessed in Iraq this summer,” Cameron told parliament.

    “There are two key areas where we need to strengthen our powers to fill specific gaps in our armory. These are around preventing suspects from traveling and dealing decisively with those already here who pose a risk.”

    Cameron said he would bring in new “specific and targeted legislation” to give the police powers to temporarily seize a suspect's passport at the border to give authorities time to investigate them. Currently only Britain's interior minister has the power to withdraw a passport.

    He also said the government would consult on a discretionary power to prevent Britons from returning home if they have pledged allegiance to extremist causes. This would extend existing powers which can only be applied to foreign nationals, naturalized citizens and those with dual nationalities.

    Civil liberties

    The package of measures has been subject to protracted negotiations within the two-party coalition government, with the junior partner Liberal Democrat party wary of bringing in new laws that could limit civil liberties.

    Lawmakers immediately questioned the legality of some of the proposals. The government's former top lawyer, Dominic Grieve, said he was concerned that British nationals could be prevented from returning to the country.

    “Not only does it offend principles of international law, it actually would offend basic principles of our own common law as well,” Grieve said.

    In response Cameron said the current system of prosecuting returning extremists worked, but that it was important to address any weaknesses in it.

    The government also said it intended to give police the ability to restrict where people based in Britain who are under investigation can live. Airlines would be legally bound to provide details of passenger lists to authorities, strengthening existing border procedures, he said.  

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sebastian from: Scotland
    September 02, 2014 5:44 AM
    these are but feeble measures... they only seem "courageous" in a context of US incompetence and European fear and confusion.
    In Response

    by: mhb from: Netherlands
    September 02, 2014 6:19 AM
    Excellent point Seb,
    First, Congratulations on your Scottish independence. A decision way past due. Second, you are so right to describe Europe's confusion and fear in the face of Islamic invasion. This is such a disaster with grave implications - "Multiculturalism" is a disaster that will end in bloodshed - we see what is happening in the Middle East and we know its coming here.

    by: peergin from: Switzerland
    September 01, 2014 3:10 PM
    It is WRONG to try and prevent jihadists from leaving the country for the Middle East. Let them go but don't let them back in (assuming that they survive). It is an easy and very cheap way of getting permanently rid of them! Good riddance!

    by: tony from: Canada
    September 01, 2014 2:38 PM
    Not only should their passports be revoked, their right to live in a civilized should also be denied. The likes of Anjem Chowdury who has been invoking the call to sharia in the UK should be turfed. Canada, the US, et al should all adopt that attitude. It is not a right to be allowed to immigrate but rather a privilege

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora