In a prepared statement, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton announced that Australia’s most wanted jihadist, Neil Prakash, has been stripped off his Australian citizenship.
“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.
“Dual citizens who choose to be involved in terrorism forfeit the privileges of Australian citizenship, and I remain committed to enforcing the legal provisions that remove them.
“If given the opportunity Mr. Prakash would harm or kill Australians and our country is a safer place for him having lost his Australian citizenship.”
Under laws established in 2015, the government can strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship for involvement in terrorism. 27- year old Prakash is understood to have Fijian citizenship through his father.
Fiji has however denied he holds Fijian citizenship as he does not show up in their registar, nor will he be accepted into Fiji. Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Voreqe Bainimarama stated “cannot come here because he does not qualify”.
The Melbourne- born Prakash was revealed to be a senior recruiter for the Islamic State (IS) group and has been linked to terrorist plots in Australia.
The former rapper who was known as Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, left Australia in 2013. He was linked to an alleged terror plot on Anzac Day in 2015.
Authorities say that Prakash used the internet “to promote the evil ideology” of the jihadi group “and recruit Australian men, women and children.”
Prakash is currently jailed in Gaziantep, in southern Turkey for his connection with IS. In July, the Turkish court ruled against his extradition to his home country to face terrorism charges.
During his trial in Turkey last year, when asked if he was responsible for terror plots in Australia, Prakash told the court: “I had something to do with [it], but I was not 100% responsible.”
“I am sorry for the trouble I have caused,” he said.
He added that he fled the group after seeing its “true face” and realizing “what they taught me was wrong”.
Despute Fiji’s denials that Neil Prakash is a citizen, Peter Dutton has insisted he can be stripped of his Australian citizenship. This would make him the 12th dual national to have citizenship annulled over associations with offshore terror groups.