Australia to strip citizenship of dual nationals involved in terror

Police and security stand guard at the Sydney Opera House after a security scare, on Jan 14, 2016.
Police and security stand guard at the Sydney Opera House after a security scare, on Jan 14, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its battle against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, said on Friday (April 8) that it would strip dual nationals convicted of terror-related crimes of citizenship.

French President Francois Hollande last month abandoned plans to strip French nationality from people convicted of terrorism, climbing down from a tough stance he took days after the November attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Dual nationals who were either involved in terror activities, members of a banned organisation or convicted of terrorism offences could lose their Australian citizenship, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told reporters in Melbourne.

"There is a very significant penalty to pay if people are involved in terrorist activities and they're a dual national,"said Mr Dutton.

Australia has been on heightened alert for attacks by homegrown radicals. While nearly 200 people were suspected of being a domestic threat, Mr Dutton said approximately 100 people had left Australia for Syria to fight alongside organisations such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In addition, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was working on 400 "high priority investigations"related to potential security threats, Mr Dutton said.