Taxpayers are footing the legal aid bill for one in six extremists who are appealing against ‘citizenship deprivation orders’ after having their passports removed
- More than 20 jihadis have applied for legal aid to fund their fight to return here
- Taxpayers fund legal aid for one in six extremists who had passports removed
- Jihadi bride Shamima Begum’s legal bills are expected to top at least £200,000
Giving legal aid to jihadi bride Shamima Begum prompted outrage from voters and politicians alike – but it has now emerged that she is far from alone.
Taxpayers are footing the bill for one in six extremists who have had their UK passports removed since 2016, figures revealed yesterday.
More than three quarters of claims made to the Legal Aid Agency to appeal against ‘citizenship deprivation orders’ have been successful.
The former east London schoolgirl who fled to join Islamic State is currently fighting to return, claiming she faces torture or death in Syria. It has been estimated that her bills will top £200,000
The news comes after the Mail revealed Begum, 20, was receiving legal aid to fight the decision by then home secretary Sajid Javid to strip her of her British citizenship.
The former east London schoolgirl who fled to join Islamic State is currently fighting to return, claiming she faces torture or death in Syria. It has been estimated that her bills will top £200,000.
When Begum was granted legal aid in April, then defence secretary Gavin Williamson said it was a ‘shame’ public money was being spent.
The Tory MP, now the Education Secretary, said: ‘Quite frankly the British people don’t like it, and quite simply neither do I. People cannot see as to why she is getting legal aid when she turned her back on this country.’
More than three quarters of claims made to the Legal Aid Agency to appeal against ‘citizenship deprivation orders’ have been successful. The UK Border is pictured above at Heathrow
However, it has now been revealed that of the 118 jihadis, suspected terrorists and criminals who have had their British citizenship revoked in the last three years, 26 have applied for legal aid to fund their fight to return here.
Figures released under Freedom of Information rules show 20 applications have been granted so far.
In 2014, the government extended the British Nationality Act 1981 to allow people to be made stateless if they have ‘conducted themselves in a manner seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK’.
Since then, a number of Britons who joined Islamic State have been stripped of their citizenship, including ‘Jihadi Jack’ Letts, who left the UK in 2014, aged 18, to join IS.
The two British terrorists from the so-called ‘Beatles’ cell of Islamic State, El Shafee Elsheikh, 31, and Alexanda Kotey, 35, have also lost their passports.
The news comes after the Mail revealed Begum, 20, was receiving legal aid to fight the decision by then home secretary Sajid Javid, above, to strip her of her British citizenship
All three would be eligible to apply for legal aid. Taxpayers now face a bill – which could run into the millions – as the Special Immigration Appeals Commission hears a string of legal challenges to citizenship deprivation orders.
The Legal Aid Agency was only able to provide costs for completed cases, saying £41,170 of public money had already been spent on a small number of challenges.
The situation was branded an ‘outrage’ yesterday by the families of IRA victims, who battled for years to get taxpayer help with their legal bills.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘Someone appealing a decision to revoke their British citizenship could have further grounds to challenge it if they did not have access to legal representation, but legal aid is only granted if they meet strict eligibility tests.’