London – British aid worker Tauqir ‘Tox’ Sharif, who is currently stranded in Idlib, Syria, will be the first to boycott the secretive citizenship legal process at the SIAC courts. He has described it as an ‘affront to justice’.
In a letter published this morning in the Middle East Eye explaining his reasons, Tox said that he is taking a stand to draw attention to the absolute lack of due process in the SIAC system and in the hope that this leads to the much needed conversations needed to overhaul the system.
Citizenship deprivations rely upon the use of secret evidence in secret legal proceedings, with an individual’s only hope for defence resting with a state-vetted special advocate. This advocate is not at liberty to disclose any details of the state’s case to the defendant, so an individual cannot see or challenge the evidence being used against them.
Humanitarian aid worker Tauqir ‘Tox’ Sharif, said:
“The life saving work I do today was inspired by what I believe are the British values of compassion and doing good for others. But the British Government has made it a crime to care and rendered me stateless.”
“The SIAC and special advocate system which reinforces it is an affront to justice. Not being able to see, let alone challenge the evidence used against me, made me realise very quickly that there would be absolutely no chance of a fair trial.”
“These courts cannot exist in a country which respects any semblance of due process. I hope my actions will inspire others who are facing a similar situation, and lawyers who believe in due process to also boycott the SIAC and not be complicit in it’s injustice.”
Moazzam Begg, Outreach director for CAGE said:
“I have known Tauqir “Tox” Sharif since we first travelled together on an aid mission to Syria in 2012. He’s been there since and has dedicated his life to helping the Syrian people – after making great personal sacrifice. Part of that sacrifice has been the loss of his citizenship which was revoked by a government that, instead of recognising his service to humanity, chose to punish him on the basis of secret evidence in the SIAC courts.”
“These courts have a history of making decisions on the basis of “closed evidence” which cannot be reasonably seen let alone challenged. Government-appointed ‘special advocates’ at SIAC can never properly represent people like Tox and instead perpetuate the cycle of discrimination and injustice that has become so prevalent over the past two decades.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)