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'Automatic' Loss Of Citizenship Rule Unconstitutional: Supreme Court of Liberia [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
28 Dec 2019 8:39 AM GMT
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The Supreme Court of Liberia has struck down provisions of the Country's Alien and Nationality Law to the extent it provides for automatic loss of citizenship.

The court made this ruling in petition filed by lvin Teage Jalloh, a Liberian-born citizen who had obtained American citizenship. Ivin was denied entry into the country without first obtaining a non-immigrant visa.

Under Section 22.1 of Alien and Nationality Law  "Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application…" is a ground for loss of citizenship. Section 22.2 provides that the loss of citizenship can result "solely from the performance by a citizen of the acts or fulfillment of the conditions specified in [Section 22.1]." and " without the institution by the Government of any proceedings to nullify or cancel such citizenship."

The Court presided by the Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor referred to Article 20(a) of the constitution which states thus : "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, security of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this Constitution and in accordance with due process of law." 

It then held that Section 22.2 of the Aliens and Nationality Law is "in conflict with and repugnant to Article 20(a) of the 1986 Constitution regarding due process."  It ruled thus:

"Section 22.2 of the Alien and Nationality Law, to the extent that it provides for the loss of citizenship solely on account of the performance by a citizen of acts or fulfillment of the conditions specified in Section 22.1 without the institution by the Government of any proceedings to nullify or cancel citizenship in violation of the due process clause under Article 20(a) of the 1986 Constitution, is hereby declared null and void without any force and effect of law."

Click here to Read/Download Judgment

Source: Front Page Africa.

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