London – Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner and CAGE Outreach Director Moazzam Begg has won back the right to his passport after he launched a high profile legal challenge back in January of this year. The Home Office defeat ends over 8 years of the deliberate hindering of Moazzam Begg’s global advocacy work, especially with regards to uncovering US and British collusion in war crimes.
The legal challenge was prompted by an embarrassing Home Office blunder in September 2021, when Moazzam Begg was issued with a passport only for it to be cancelled within a month. The Home Office letter notifying him of this decision was dated for 2017, and addressed to a completely unrelated woman in another city whose details matched someone convicted for passport fraud.
The Home Office has the power to arbitrarily deny a person a passport, effectively restricting their freedom of movement, mirroring the manner in which the Home Office can deprive an individual of their citizenship with complete impunity. The Home Office would delay making a decision on withholding passport facilities for years, as demonstrated in this case. The judicial review sought to challenge this unreasonable delay.
Commenting on this victory, CAGE Outreach Director Moazzam Begg said:
“It’s been almost a decade since I was able to travel outside the UK. A passport is more than just a travel document, it’s literally the strongest proof of one’s identity. When that is arbitrarily denied by the state it is essentially saying “you don’t really belong”.
In my experience, however, the state often abuses these extraordinary powers it has given itself and places itself above its the law when accountability becomes inconvenient and embarrassing. I’ve had my passport revoked and reissued three times in the past years.
I don’t know if this is the last time, but I do know my fight to hold the state accountable doesn’t end with a passport. It’s just a new beginning. I thank all those who have supported me and CAGE in yet another win against the odds.
(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.)