UK: Family of Islamist win citizenship battle with Home Secretary

Theresa May
Theresa May

The family of an Islamic extremist with links to al-Qaeda have won a legal fight against the UK Home Secretary’s decision to refuse them UK citizenship.

Theresa May had said her refusal would “deter potential extremists”.

However, the UK High Court said her position was “irrational” and lacked “internal logic”, adding it was unfair to deny the wife, 51, and children, aged 26 and 27, of Egyptian-born Hany Youssef citizenship as they were of good character.

Mr Justice Ouseley said: “There is real unfairness, on the face of it, in refusing naturalisation to someone who qualifies in all other respects, in order to provide a general deterrent to others, over whom the applicant has no control.”

Counsel for the family, Michael Fordham QC, said it would be incorrect to punish them “for the sins of the father” and that any such act had “no place in a liberal democracy”.

But Robert Tam QC, for the Home Secretary, said the grant of British citizenship was “a privilege, not a right”.

He said the denial of citizenship was a reasonable deterrent and was not disproportionate as those concerned could still live in the UK.

The family have been in the UK since 1994 and have been granted indefinite leave to remain since 2009.

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