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Bilal al-Berjawi

Bilal al-Berjawi was a British citizen who got deprived his citizenship in 2010, while in Somalia. Two years later, Berjawi was killed in a US-led drone strike. He had a wife and a child who was born in London on the day of his death.

Bilal al-Berjawi was born in Lebanon but moved to Britain as a young child and spent most of his life living in north-west London as a British citizen. In 2009, he left Britain to go to Somalia. A year later, in 2010 while still in Somalia, the Home Secretary stripped him of his citizenship based on his involvement with the Somali militant group al-Shabaab.

After being deprived, Berjawi apparently wanted to appeal his deprivation. Yet similarly as in the case of G1/K2 (believed to refer to Walla Rahman) communication with his lawyers was restricted due to his fears of being targeted in a drone strike. His fears were well founded, as the US targeted him twice. The first time he was injured in a drone strike less than a year after his citizenship deprivation. The second time he was targeted by drone was in 2012, only hours after he had called his wife in a London hospital where she had just given birth to their son. This time the US drone strike killed him.

His family suspects that his death was enabled due to the monitoring of his phone calls by the British security services who then provided information to the US on Berjawi’s whereabouts. Lawyer Ian MacDonald commented on the practices of citizenship deprivation as ‘sinister’.

Before his death, Berjawi reported that he had been targeted by the British security services and treated as is he had no rights. His friend, Mohamed Sakr, who lost his British citizenship around the same time as Bilal did, was also killed in a drone attack just a few weeks later.

Key sources

Woods, Ross, Wright (2013) British terror suspects quietly stripped of citizenship… then killed by drones. The Independent, Thursday 28 February 2013.