LONDON: Lawmakers in Britain are urging the government to revoke the U.K. citizenship of the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to her support for her husband’s government during the six-year civil war. Tom Brake, a Liberal Democratic member of Parliament, on April 16 accused Asma al-Assad of using her international profile to defend “a barbarous regime.” Asma al-Assad is a former investment banker who married Assad in 2000. She was born to Syrian parents in London. “[Foreign Secretary] Boris Johnson has urged other countries to do more about Syria, but the British government could say to Asma al-Assad: Either stop using your position to defend barbaric acts or be stripped of your citizenship,” Brake said. “If Asma continues defending the Assad regime’s murderous actions, the onus will be on the U.K. government to deprive her of her citizenship or demonstrate that her actions are not seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom,” he added.
MP Nadhim Zahawi of the ruling Conservative Party made a similar call. “The time has come where we go after Assad in every which way, including people like Mrs. Assad, who is very much part of the propaganda machine that is committing war crimes,” The Sunday Times quoted him as saying. Asma al-Assad, 41, has used her social-media accounts to attack the critics of her husband’s government. Brake said he will send an official letter to the Home Office calling for her citizenship to be revoked, although there remains some debate over whether it has the authority to revoke a person’s citizenship.