In a landmark move, Australia has stripped the citizenship of Islamic State fighter Khaled Sharrouf, who left Australia to fight for the terror group in Syria.
The decision to revoke Sharrouf’s Australian citizenship falls under the 2015 anti-terrorism law Allegiance to Australia Act, which has now been invoked for the first time ever, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
This legislation allows the government to strip the citizenship of dual-citizens from Australia, who are suspected or convicted of engaging in militant acts or joining up with a banned organization.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said Saturday that an individual had been stripped of citizenship, but did not list the individual’s identity. The Australian later revealed that Sharrouf was the individual targeted. If he leaves Syria, he will now have to rely on his citizenship from Lebanon to travel. While reports initially stated that he had been killed in 2015 by a drone strike, those reports turned out to be false.
Sharrouf reportedly traveled to Syria in 2013 using his brother’s passport, just a year after he was released for his role in a terror plot. In 2007, he was accused of plotting terror attacks in Sydney and Melbourne, and as a result, he was sentenced in 2009 to four years in prison.
His wife and son later joined him in Syria. Sharrouf subsequently made international news again in 2014 when his seven-year-old son held up the head of a Syrian soldier on camera.
“That’s my boy!” Sharrouf stated.
Sharrouf’s wife has since died of an infection.
While in Syria, Sharrouf was known for posting updates to social media about his extremist activities in Syria.
There are approximately 110 people with Australian citizenship who are believed to be fighting in Syria and Iraq. The vast majority are likely fighting for ISIS.
As ISIS loses more of its territory in the Middle East, the Australian government is worried about how it’s going to handle all the fighters attempting to travel back to Australia.