Five Islamic State (IS) terrorists have had their Australian citizenships revoked by the nation’s government.
Peter Dutton, Australia’s Minister of Home Affairs, confirmed on Thursday that the three men and two women aged in their 20s and 30s were no longer Australian citizens.
It is only the second instance of the Australian government stripping extremists of their citizenship after Khaled Sharrouf lost his in 2015.
Dutton said the five travelled to the Middle East to join IS, violating the section 35 of the Australian Citizenship Act which states that a dual national’s citizenship is automatically forfeit if they “fight for, or is in the service of, a declared terrorist organization.”
“They don’t serve to be Australian citizens, and in our judgment they would pose a great threat if they were to return to Australia, and so we’ve been very clear about the fact that we want to deal with people as far away from our shores as possible,” Dutton told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio on Thursday.
“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.”
According to the Department of Home Affairs and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), up to 100 Australians remain in Iraq and Syria fighting for IS.
Dutton said he expected more citizenships to be cancelled once sufficient intelligence was gathered.
“Cessation of Australian citizenship for dual nationals involved in terrorism is a key part of Australia’s response to international violent extremism and terrorism,” he said.
“The government is determined to deal with foreign terrorist fighters as far from our shores as possible to ensure that if they do return it is with forewarning and into the hands of authorities.
“Our first priority is, and will always be, the safety and security of all Australians.”