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Government ‘followed the law’ when stripping citizenship of accused IS recruiter Neil Prakash

Immigration Minister David Coleman says the government is acting in accordance with Australian law, in stripping accused IS recruiter Neil Prakash of his citizenship.

Prakash is currently behind bars in Turkey, facing multiple charges.

The government believes Prakash is a dual national because his father is Fijian.

But immigration officials in Fiji say he’s not a citizen of the country and hasn’t entered the country or applied for citizenship since birth.

The news could cause problems as Australia can’t revoke citizenship if it’ll leave a person stateless.

Immigration Minister David Coleman tells John Stanley they’ve followed a process in line with Australian law.

“We’ve followed the law of Australia and [to] this individual the law has been applied.

“And as a consequence, he has lost his Australian citizenship.”

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Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has released a statement in relation to the matter.

He says Prakash fulfilled the appropriate criteria in having his Australian citizenship cancelled.

“Changes to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 were passed by Parliament to ensure Australians holding dual citizenship and fighting with terrorists could never again enjoy the privileges of being an Australian.

The Citizenship Loss Board, comprising senior officials from several government departments, law enforcement and security agencies, examined the requirements for cessation of Australian citizenship in relation to Mr Prakash, namely:

– that he had been in the service of a declared terrorist organisation, Islamic State

– that he satisfied age requirements as someone who is older than 14 years

– and that he was a citizen of another country

Mr Prakash’s case was brought to my attention after careful consideration by the Citizenship Loss Board that Mr Prakash’s Australian citizenship had ceased by virtue of his actions in fighting for Islamic State from May 2016.

Neither the Citizenship Loss Board nor I make decisions on whether an individual ceases to be an Australian citizen, as the provisions operate automatically by virtue of a person’s conduct.”

Mr Dutton says the Australian government remains in close contact with Fiji on the issue of Prakash’s citizenship.

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