Flat White

Neil Prakash: leave him to his victims’ mercy

6 January 2019

12:47 PM

6 January 2019

12:47 PM

The controversy surrounding the government’s attempts to strip ISIS member Neil Prakash of his Australian citizenship is at a stalemate, with Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama stating that he “cannot come here because he does not qualify”.

Without having the citizenship of a second nation in addition to Australia, the loss of his Australian citizenship would leave Prakash effectively stateless. Labor has seized on the issue demanding that the legal advice regarding Prakash’s entitlement to Fijian citizenship be released, with Labor MP Jason Clare asserting, “It all looks like another Peter Dutton stuff up.”

Amid all the controversy and attempts at domestic political point scoring, there is a clear solution to the issue of what to do with proven ISIS terrorists such as Prakash: hand them over to the appropriate authorities of the nations in which they committed their crimes and acts of terrorism.

After all it is the Syrian and Iraqi people who have suffered most from the actions of ISIS, as they took over large swathes of the two nations imposing their harsh interpretation of Sharia law over the population under their control. ISIS then used these territories as staging and training areas to conduct attacks in the heart of Syrian and Iraqi territory, ensuring that during their ascendancy no one in these nations was ever safe from the threat of Islamic State terrorism.


In the West, we can scarcely fathom the depths of the wrongs perpetrated by ISIS against the people of Iraq and Syria. A world in which a woman under 30 could be bought as a slave in a market for $85 USD, where the genocide of ethnic and sectarian minorities was just another day under ISIS rule, a brutal reality that we cannot begin to truly understand.

While handing individuals like Prakash over the Syrian authorities is incredibly problematic due to human rights concerns, the Iraqi government remains a possible option. Given their strong cooperation with international Coalition forces, including the Australian Defence Forces, the Iraqi government have more than earned the right to impose their justice on ISIS terrorists such as Prakash.

It would be moral and poetic justice for the Iraqi people to sit in judgement over Neil Prakash for the profound crimes he perpetrated on their countrymen, ensuring that at least in this one small case they would be offered a measure of justice for the horrific crimes visited upon their nation by ISIS terrorists.

There are those who believe that Prakash and others like him are entitled to use their Australian citizenship as a shield to be brought back here to face our courts. But why should Australian citizenship supersede the Iraqi public’s right to a small amount of justice, for the profound crimes committed against them by terrorists like Prakash and other members of ISIS?

There will always be the need to assess these types of individuals on a case by case basis, ensuring that our nation remains committed to genuine justice, in Prakash’s case where his guilt is clear and those of other proven ISIS terrorists, we should be offering the long-suffering people of Iraq and Syria every chance for some measure of justice.

Illustration: Al Jazeera/YouTube.

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