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UK decision on Hicks citizenship ruling expected in early April

[JURIST] The UK Home Office [official website] Friday presented oral arguments before the UK High Court in its appeal [JURIST report] of the Court’s December decision [JURIST report; JURIST document] to require the British government to register Guantanamo detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] as a British citizen. A decision is expected in early April. Hicks, an Australian detained in US custody at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] since 2002 on charges of conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy for his allegedly fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, sought UK citizenship on the grounds that his mother is British. Hicks’ lawyers hope to take advantage of the British government’s success in keeping UK citizens out of the US military commission process. The UK Foreign Office [official website] has been successful in getting nine British citizens freed from Guantanamo, some of whom were dual citizens of other countries.

The UK Home Office has accepted Hicks’ right to citizenship, but maintains that they can refuse to register a citizen on the grounds that he committed acts “seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom.” Hicks’ lawyers contend that Hicks could not have been disloyal or disaffected to the British crown before he was a citizen of the UK. Home Office barrister Philip Sales acknowledged in court Friday that if Hicks’ argument is found correct, then the Home Office would lose the appeal. Sales argued that the other dual citizens freed from Guantanamo had direct ties to England, and said the Court should take a different view of Hicks. Melbourne Australia’s The Age newspaper has more.

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