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UK strips Jihadi Jack of his British dual nationality: Reports

Press Trust of India  |  London 

A former Islamic State recruit referred to as Jihadi Jack for his British links has been stripped of his UK nationality, according to UK media reports.

Jack Letts, a 24-year-old Muslim convert from the town of Oxford, had travelled to Raqqa in Syria as a teenager in 2014 and fought with ISIS before leaving the terrorist group a few years ago.

Letts, who is now being held in a Kurdish jail in northern Syria, has dual Canadian nationality through his father. Under international law, the UK Home Office can revoke British citizenship as long as the individual is not made stateless due to the decision.

While the Home Office said it does not comment on individual cases, a spokesperson noted: "Decisions on depriving a dual national of citizenship are based on substantial advice from officials, lawyers and the intelligence agencies and all available information".

"This power is one way we can counter the terrorist threat posed by some of the most dangerous individuals and keep our country safe," the spokesperson said.

Letts was 18 when he left school in Oxfordshire to join ISIS fighters and was jailed after being captured by Kurdish YPG forces while attempting to flee to Turkey in 2017.

In an interview last year, he said he felt British and that he wanted to return to the UK, but admitted he did not think that would be likely.

"I know I was definitely an enemy of Britain," he told the BBC.

On why he left the UK to join the jihadist group, he said: "I thought I was leaving something behind and going to something better".

His Oxford-based parents, John Letts and Sally Lane, were convicted at the Old Bailey court in London in June this year for funding terrorism by sending their son 223 pounds.

The couple escaped prison time as they were sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment, which suspended for 12 months.

According to the 'Mail on Sunday', the decision to revoke Letts of his UK citizenship was one of the last decisions taken by former British Prime Minister Theresa May.

It comes after her then Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship earlier this year on similar grounds of being involved with ISIS.

She was one of three girls from east London who left the UK in February 2015 and travelled to Syria, where she married an ISIS fighter.

The UK Home Office maintains that Begum could claim Bangladeshi citizenship because of her family background but Bangladesh has said she is not a citizen and would not be allowed into the country.

Her case is currently undergoing a legal challenge process.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, August 18 2019. 16:50 IST