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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs