An aunt and three cousins of Syria’s brutal dictator have been refused UK citizenship by the Government.
They were told that, as close relatives of President Bashar al-Assad, giving them British passports would undermine the Government’s opposition to his bloody regime.
The family members appealed against the decision at a secret immigration tribunal.
But a judgment seen by The Mail on Sunday reveals that their challenge has been rejected by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
Judges admitted they did not know exactly how close the aunt and cousins were to President Assad but said the important consideration was the damage caused to Britain’s reputation if they were allowed citizenship.
Among the applicants was one of the four polygamous wives of Assad’s uncle Rifaat Al-Assad, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Two of her sons who have lived in the UK for more than a decade also had their applications rejected, along with that of third son of Rifaat by another woman.
Advice from the Foreign Office to the Home Office warned that granting Assad’s relatives citizenship ‘would be interpreted as a softening stance towards the regime and of faltering commitment to the opposition’.