Three dual-national Australians, alleged to have been Islamic State (IS) jihadists captured by army forces in Lebanon, could have their Australian citizenships stripped, according to Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne on Friday.
The men, believed to be Lebanese-Australians, were arrested at gunpoint during army raids after a Syrian-born colleague, who was captured last year, admitted to living with the three dual nationals while working with IS.
Pyne told the Nine Network Friday that the men could have their Australian passports cancelled if they are found guilty, thanks to laws introduced by the government last year.
It has been reported, however, that the three men do not wish to return to Australia despite their dual citizenship.
“There is a process of course, through which the Minister for Immigration and the government considers the citizenship of dual citizens who are found guilty of crimes that we regard as serious enough to strip citizenship,” Pyne said.
“It’s very serious for Aussies to be fighting oversea in areas which are designated as ‘no-go zones,’ so we will look very carefully at what those three have been doing, and of course give them a fair hearing.
“But we will take action, if necessary, to protect Australians from potential terrorists.”
Last year, the Australian Parliament passed a law allowing the government to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship if they are deemed to be terrorists and dangerous to the general public.