'Terrorist' Belgium nationals 'may lose citizenship'

Belgian federal government considers revoking citizenship of second and third generation Belgians convicted of terrorism, says official.

'Terrorist' Belgium nationals 'may lose citizenship'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Belgian federal government plans to revoke the citizenship of second and third generation citizens convicted of terrorism, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders has said.

His comments published on Monday came after Belgium's coalition government announced on Oct. 10, 2014 that the country was planning legislation aimed at depriving people with dual citizenship of their Belgian citizenship and residency if they fought abroad.

But Reynders was quoted by local Belgian media as going further than the original plans, saying that even second and third generation citizens - who became Belgians by birth - should lose their citizenship if convicted of "terror" charges.

"It is our intention to tackle the second and third generations as well, because this is where the main problem lies," Reynders was quoted as saying.

 'Our responsibility'

But the plans have been met with criticism, with opponents labelling the scheme ''discrimination''.

Stefaan Van Hecke, Member of the Belgian Federal Parliament for the Flemish Greens, was quoted by local media as saying: "This goes very far, because we are talking about people that were born here and that lived here."

"It is also a little bit our responsibility."

Justice Minister Koen Geens, a Flemish Christian Democrat, was quoted as saying: "The proposal could be discriminating for second- and third-generation Belgian citizens."

According to the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, about 300 people left Belgium in the two years preceding December 2014 to fight in Syria.

-Parliamentarians evacuated

The Jan. 7-8 attacks in Paris in which 17 people were killed and subsequent anti-terror raids across Belgium led to the country to being put on a state of "high alert".

Belgium increased its "terror threat" level to three, with four being the highest, following an anti-terror operation in the eastern town of Verviers on Jan.15.

Belgian police also evacuated hundreds of people from the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday after a suspicious vehicle was seen nearby the building.

The parliament was later declared safe.

Jaume Duch, spokesman for the European Parliament, said on his Twitter account: ''As a precautionary measure, police evacuated part of the Montoyer street before removing a car. There were no indications that there were explosives.''

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Şubat 2015, 16:40