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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid