Australia strips top IS terror suspect of citizenship

Becomes the 12th dual-national to lose their passport over terrorism links

Afp December 30, 2018
Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton speaks to the media during a news conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia August 21, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY: Australia has stripped the citizenship of its most-wanted Islamic State suspect Neil Prakash for being a member of the militant group, the 12th dual-national to lose their passport over terrorism links.

Prakash - a senior recruiter for IS who has been linked to terror plots to kill Australians - is currently facing charges in Turkey of joining the organisation.


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The government in 2016 asked Ankara to extradite Prakash, who Canberra previously reported as having been killed in a US airstrike in northern Iraq.

"I can confirm that the Australian government has notified Neil Prakash that his Australian citizenship has ceased due to being in the service of Islamic State," Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement on Saturday.

"Cessation of Australian citizenship of dual nationals engaged in terrorist conduct offshore is a key part of Australia's response to international violent extremism and terrorism."

Reported to be of Indian, Fijian and Cambodian background, Prakash used the internet "to promote the evil ideology" of the militant group "and recruit Australian men, women and children", Canberra has said.

Known as Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, Prakash left Australia in 2013 and was linked to an alleged terror plot on Anzac Day in 2015, when Australia honours its war dead.

Prakash said during his trial in Turkey last year that he regretted his involvement with IS after seeing its "true face".

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Canberra has become increasingly concerned about Australian nationals returning home after fighting alongside IS abroad and has passed a series of tougher national security laws in recent years.

That includes legislation where people can forfeit their citizenship if they also hold a passport from another country, and therefore are not left stateless.


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