NATION

Australia Backs Down On Terrorist Move Plan

Australia has backed down on a proposal to send Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist Neil Prakash to Fiji. It is understood that it has dropped the idea to send Prakash here
06 Jan 2019 10:54
Australia Backs Down On Terrorist Move Plan

Australia has backed down on a proposal to send Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist Neil Prakash to Fiji.

It is understood that it has dropped the idea to send Prakash here after analysing the Fijian position and the political backlash at home in Australia.

Instead, Prakash will be taken back to Australia where he will face the law after serving his time in a Turkish jail.

This could mean the suspension of the decision to revoke his Australian citizenship.

Fiji has already decided that Prakash is not coming here because he does not qualify.

Secondly, Fiji will not welcome or accommodate any terrorists.

After his release from a Turkish jail, it was reported that he could come to Fiji because he was a Fijian citizen and Australia had revoked his citizenship.

The Director of Fijian Immigration, Nemani Vuniwaqa had said that there was no record to show that:

  • Prakash is a Fijian citizen;
  • He was born here, visited or ever lived in Fiji; and
  • Neither he nor his Fijian father had applied for his citizenship.

Canberra sources said that Australia respected Fiji’s sovereignty and it would honour its position.

They said Australia was in serious damage control mode after the political fallout.

Earlier, international media reported that Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton had said that they were working closely with the Fijian Government to send Prakash to Fiji after the Islamic jihadist’s Australian citizenship was cancelled.

Mr Vuniwaqa denied that he had spoken to Mr Dutton or any other Australian officials.

Australia cannot render one of its citizens stateless.

Its latest move to allow Prasad to return to Australia is designed to smoothen the way for its Prime Minister Scott Morrison before his visit to Fiji from January 17 to January 20.

It is understood that when Mr Morrison meets his Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama for bilateral talks, the Prakash issue will not be on the agenda.

This is an important visit from the two countries’ perspectives.

Australia is one of our biggest development partners in the region. It is understood that it wants to enhance the relationship in view of China’s growing influence here and the region.

The Prakash issue should not have developed the way it did. It was badly handled. It appears no proper due diligence was done before Prakash’s citizenship was withdrawn.

It was an unnecessary distraction that Mr Morrison wished had not happened. Australia had realised that it had dragged in the wrong country into its political discussion given Fiji’s growing status as a regional hub.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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