Australia has stripped five Syria-based dual nationals of their citizenship due to their involvement with the Islamic State terrorist group, a government minister said Thursday.
A total of six people have now lost their Australian citizenship since the law was changed in 2015 to enable dual nationals to lose their citizenship rights for actions contrary to their allegiance to Australia, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said.
They join notorious Daesh fighter Khaled Sharrouf (pictured) — who made headlines when he posted a Twitter image of his young son holding a severed head — as the only nationals to be kicked out under tougher anti-terror laws.
“I can confirm that five more individuals have ceased to be Australian citizens because of their involvement with Daesh offshore,” Mr. Dutton said in a statement.
“Fundamentally, citizenship requires allegiance to this country… these five dual-nationals have been acting against Australia’s interests by engaging with terrorism and have effectively chosen to leave the Australian community.”
The five are all aged in their 20s and 30s. Mr. Dutton provided no further details on their identities but welcomed their exclusion, saying “Australia is a safer place for not having them return.”
Sharrouf, the first Australian national stripped of his passport for Daesh links, was also a Lebanese citizen. He left Australia for Syria in 2013 with his family.
His Australian wife Tara Nettleton, who went with him, has since died and Sharrouf was believed to have been killed in a drone strike in Iraq in 2015.
Under section 35 of the Australian Citizenship Act, a dual national’s Australian citizenship automatically ceases if they act contrary to their allegiance to Australia by engaging in terrorism-related conduct.
This includes those who fight for or who are in the service of a declared terrorist organization overseas. The Islamic State group was declared a terrorist organization for these purposes since May 2016.
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