NEWS

Terrorist Can’t Come Here: PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist Neil Prakash “cannot come here because he does not qualify.” “At any rate, he is a terrorist and a member of
03 Jan 2019 09:54
Terrorist Can’t Come Here: PM
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist Neil Prakash “cannot come here because he does not qualify.”

“At any rate, he is a terrorist and a member of ISIS. We don’t entertain them nor do we accommodate them.”

He was responding to reports that Prakash, 27, from Melbourne, who is in a Turkish jail, could be heading to Fiji after his release, because Australia had

revoked his citizenship. It was claimed that Prakash held Fijian citizenship.

Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton had said they were working closely with the Fijian Government.

Prakash has been stripped off his Australian citizenship because he became a recruiter for the ISIS militant group.

Mr Dutton claimed that Prakash was a citizen of Fiji by virtue of his father. Prakash’s father, a Fijian, went to Australia and became an Australian citizen. His mother is Cambodian.

But according to Fijian law Prakash cannot automatically become a Fijian citizen through his father as it is applied for.

But Mr Dutton said in a statement: “The Government has been in close contact with the Government of Fiji since Mr Prakash was determined to have lost his citizenship.

“Australia will continue our close cooperation with Fiji on this issue and the many other areas of mutual interest.” Australia can only revoke citizenship if the person is a dual citizenship holder. In this case it was thought that Prakash was a Fijian citizen.

But Director for the Fiji Immigration Department, Nemani Vuniwaqa, said it was outrageous that Australian authorities were making claims that Prakash was a Fijian citizen.

He also denied that he had spoken to Mr Dutton or any other Australian official as reported by the international media.

Mr Vuniwaqa said: “Neil Prakash has not been or is a Fijian citizen. He was born in Australia and has acquired Australian citizenship since birth,” Mr Vuniwaqa said.

“For a child of a Fijian citizen born overseas, the parent has to apply for citizenship for the child to become a Fiji citizen. If the parent does not apply then the child does not become a Fijian citizen automatically.

“The Department has searched the Immigration system and confirms that he has not entered the country nor applied for citizenship since birth.

“If he or she decided to become a Fijian citizen then they should register, however, in the case of Prakash he never registered. This is done via an application form with certain requirements to be fulfilled.

“According to the 2009 Citizenship Act if Prakash wanted to apply for Fijian citizenship he can apply as a child of a Fiji citizen under late Registration because he is over 18 years old. However, he has to meet the Residency requirement of 3 years lawfully in the country.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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