Bern has started the process of stripping an individual of their Swiss nationality for national security reasons. The move is the first in half a century.
The week before last, the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) launched a procedure to remove Swiss nationality from a 19 year old man from Winterthur, reported the Tages-Anzeiger last Friday.
According to Swiss newspapers, the man joined Islamic State in Syria in 2015 and posted photos of himself with the decapitated head of one of his victims. Where the man is now is unclear, however a journalist specialising in the Syrian conflict told Swiss television that the man was dead.
To be 100% sure the man no longer qualifies for the protection of the Swiss Confederation, Swiss authorities want to remove his Swiss citizenship. According to official documents the man has 30 days to contact the SEM and explain himself. If he doesn’t his Swiss passport will be taken away.
The procedure is only possible if the person has more than one nationality. In this case the man is also an Italian citizen according to the Tages-Anzeiger.
States councillor Andrea Caroni (PLR) thinks stripping passports from dual nationals is self-serving because the nation that moves the fastest leaves the other carrying the burden. Nor does he buy the argument that it makes countries safer, pointing out that many jihadists travel with false documents or voluntarily give up their nationality to avoid expatriation.
The last time this happened in Switzerland was in 1952. Between 1940 and 1952, 86 people were stripped of Swiss nationality for security reasons.