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Should Danish parliament have power to revoke passports?

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Should Danish parliament have power to revoke passports?
Mattias Tesfaye. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix
15:05 CEST+02:00
Denmark's Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye has said he does not want to hand the power to revoke passports to parliament.

A number of political parties have called for parliament to be given the power to withdraw passports, rather than the immigration ministry.

Tesfaye said he was “not crazy about” the idea.

“I want to stick to the principles our society is built upon. I want parliament to pass laws and the government, meaning the ministries, to have responsibility (for them),” Tesfaye said.

A government bill proposes enabling the immigration minister to decide whether a person with double citizenship can have their Danish nationality revoked.

The debate comes in light of the issue of Danish nationals who have travelled to Syria in support of or to fight for militant groups.

Parties from both sides of the aisle, including the Danish People’s Party, Socialist People’s Party and Social Liberals want the decision to be in the hands of parliament, Politiken reports.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International Denmark’s head lawyer Claus Juul told the newspaper that taking the decision out of the courts would present a major problem in relation to the rule of law.

Although Tesfaye disagreed with that point, he said that a ministerial decision to revoke citizenship could be brought before a court within four weeks.

“If you are dissatisfied with the decision, you can go to court. That’s the three-way separation of power, and I think we should stick to that,” he said.

Given the serious nature of the issue, Tesfaye was asked whether it should be assessed by courts in the first instance rather than in the case of an appeal.

“Because it’s such a serious intervention, I think it’s important that we stick to our principles,” the minister responded. 

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