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Hilal al-Jedda

Hilal al-Jedda is a former British citizen who has been deprived citizenship twice; first in 2007 and then, after successfully appealing due to statelessness, again in 2013. His second deprivation was made possible due to a change in the law that his case inspired.

Hilal al-Jedda was born in 1957 in Iraq where he was a successful basketball player. He left Iraq as a refugee during Saddam Hussein’s rule in 1992 and moved to the UK together with his wife and children. He became a British citizen in 2000. In 2004 Hilal al-Jedda went to Iraq where he got detained by British and American forces and held for three years, during which he said he suffered physical abuse. When he finally got released in 2007, an order depriving him of his British citizenship was issued by the Home Secretary. The court proceedings took several years but finally in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled in his favour arguing that stripping him of British citizenship was illegal as it would render him stateless. According to Iraqi law al-Jedda had lost his Iraqi citizenship after acquiring British citizenship. Al-Jedda’s victory in the Supreme Court was one of only two known to us successful appeals to citizenship deprivation issued on national security grounds. However, the Home Secretary Theresa May was determined to exclude Hilal al-Jedda from Britain and had told the House of Commons that the laws required change.

Al-Jedda’s case became a catalyst for a rushed amendment to the Immigration Bill introduced in January 2014. The amendment allowed deprivation of naturalised citizens even if it would make the person stateless, provided that the Home Secretary believes the person could obtain citizenship in a different country. The justification from the Home Secretary was that the laws in Iraq had changed following the country’s occupation and as such al-Jedda could reapply for Iraqi citizenship if he wanted to. For al-Jedda this meant that only a few weeks after finally winning a court battle that lasted six years he had to start the process of appeal yet again. Al-Jedda currently lives in Turkey.

Key sources

SIAC (2009) Hilal Abdul-Razzaq Ali Al Jedda and Secretary of State for The Home Department. Open Judgement. Appeal No: SC/66/2008, 7th April 2009

SIAC (2014) Hilal Al-Jedda and The Secretary of State for The Home Department. Ruling. Appeal No: SC/66/2008, 7th February 2014

SIAC (2014) Hilal Al-Jedda and The Secretary of State for The Home Department. Ruling (For Approval), 2nd July 2014

SIAC (2014) Hilal Abdul-Razzaq Ali Al Jedda and Secretary of State for The Home Department. Judgement. Appeal No: SC/66/2008, 18th July 2014

SIAC (2010) Halil Abdul Razzaq Ali Al-Jedda and Secretary of State for The Home Department, Judgement. Appeal No: SC/66/2008, 26th November 2010

The Supreme Court (2013) Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant) v Al-Jedda (AP) (Respondent), [2013] UKSC 62, 9th October 2013