Australia: New powers announced to strip citizenship from suspected terrorists
Australia today announced it will amend its law to strip dual nationals linked to terrorism of their citizenship for "betraying the country", but insisted it would comply with international legal standards and that no one would be left stateless.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the new powers would apply to dual nationals who fight with or support jihadists such as Islamic State group or so-called lone wolves who pose a threat on home soil. But the government shied away from removing citizenship from second-generation Australians. Those who fall under this category will be forced to take on the citizenship of their parents' birth countries.
"The changes will be consistent with our international legal obligation not to leave a person stateless." said Abbott, adding that safeguards, such as judicial review, would be in place to balance these powers.
"These new powers are a necessary and appropriate response to the terrorist threat. They modernise our laws and bring them closer to those of other countries such as France, Canada and the United States."
The announcement comes as a Sydney mother reportedly abandoned her two children and fled to Syria for a new life under Islamic State, becoming one of more than 100 Australians who have joined the jihadists. At least 30 have been killed in the fighting. According to The Sydney Daily Telegraph. Jasmina Milovanov, a 26-year-old Muslim convert, left her children, aged five and seven, with a babysitter earlier this month and never returned.It cited her ex-husband as saying she sent a text message telling him she was in Syria.
"The only thing I can think about is my children. I can't believe she left these two beautiful children. My son was saying in the days afterwards that he hoped 'my mum is OK'," said the husband, who was not named.Milovanov is Facebook friends with former Melbourne woman Zehra Duman, who is known in Australia as the "jihadi bride recruiter" and uses social media to entice women to join the militant group.
The government said it was deeply disturbed by the revelations and was monitoring the situation closely.
Australia raised its threat level to high last September and has since carried out a series of counter-terrorism raids, with several alleged plots foiled this year.