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Man held by police despite winning legal fight over his British citizenship released

Written by on 8 May 2021

A man who was being held by the Metropolitan Police – despite winning a court battle to prevent the Home Office stripping him of citizenship – has been released.

The 37-year-old, known in proceedings as “N3”, had been locked in a legal battle for more than three years.

His lawyers had accused the Home Office of making him stateless when it stripped him of citizenship in 2017. N3 was in Turkey at the time, where he says he was involved in aid work related to the Syrian war.

N3’s parents won an appeal to have his citizenship reinstated a year later. Although he travelled to France in an attempt to get home to the UK, he was refused entry because the Home Office had appealed the decision.

After the government’s citizenship deprivation order was withdrawn on 20 April, he was handed over to British police and detained under the Terrorism Act 2000.

On Friday, he was released from custody with no further action, and has now returned home.

N3 told Sky News: “I have always expressed my willingness to return to the UK and clear my name against any false allegations that have been made against me.

“Had the Home Office allowed me to come home in 2017 or any time thereafter, I would have been able to satisfy the police of my innocence back then as I have done today.

“I am overjoyed to be reunited with my family and I am looking forward to making up for the last three-and-a-half years that were stolen from my family by the Home Office.”

His solicitor, Fahad Ansari, added: “The Home Office did not just unlawfully strip my client of his citizenship for over three years. They also stripped his children of their father, his wife of her husband, and his elderly and ailing mother of her son.

“My client is an innocent man and today he has demonstrated this to the full satisfaction of the Metropolitan Police.

“It is a shame on the British justice system that individuals can be subjected to the maximum penalty of losing their citizenship and left in exile without ever being asked a single question by a police officer.

“How many more innocent people like N3 have had their lives destroyed using this power which seeks to circumvent the basic principles of due process inherent within the criminal justice system?”

Speaking to Sky’s Sadiya Chowdhury last month, N3’s mother had told Sky News that she missed her son’s “love, warmth and companionship” – and said she desperately needed his support because she was in ill health.

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