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Canada's Trudeau under pressure after Britain revokes citizenship of 'Jihadi Jack'

18 Comments
By Steve Scherer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came under pressure on Monday from the opposition Conservatives who warned against giving any assistance to Jack Letts - a dual citizen dubbed "Jihadi Jack" by the media - after Britain's decision to strip him of his British citizenship.

Letts, who had dual Canadian-British citizenship, said he hopes Canada can get him out of the Kurdish prison where he has been held for about two years, even if it means he goes to prison in North America, according to an ITV News interview.

Trudeau's Liberals repealed a law that allowed for the citizenship of those convicted of terrorism offences to be revoked. The policy shift, and Trudeau's famous "a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian" mantra, has prompted accusations from some opponents that he is soft on national security.

The timing of the Letts' case - just two months ahead of the election - is not good for Trudeau. Most polls show the Conservatives holding a slight lead nationally ahead of the Oct. 21 vote.

"'Jihadi Jack' is in prison now and that is where he should stay," Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement to Reuters. "A Conservative government under my leadership will not lift a finger to bring him back to Canada."

Letts, a Muslim convert, left Britain for Syria in 2014 when he was 18, according to media reports.

Canada's foreign ministry said on Monday its ability to provide consular assistance in Syria was "extremely limited." On Sunday, Canada said it had "no legal obligation to facilitate" Letts' return.

"If the Trudeau government is contemplating helping Jihadi Jack come to Canada, we urge him to stop those attempts now," Conservative lawmaker Pierre Poilievre said on Global News TV on Sunday. "It is not the job of the Canadian government or the Canadian taxpayer to now come to his rescue after he's been caught."

Britain's decision prompted a response from Trudeau's Liberal government on Sunday, with Canada saying in a statement that the United Kingdom was trying to "off-load" its responsibilities in the case.

"I've always felt that I am Canadian, my dad is Canadian, and I never grew up being accepted as a British person anyway," Letts told ITV. "I hope Canada does take me from here, I could go there, to prison of course."

Even if Canada could get people out of Syria, they "would most likely be detained by authorities and face serious charges in neighboring countries," a government source said.

Asked whether his government would help the Letts family, Trudeau avoided a direct answer on Monday.

"It is a crime to travel internationally with a goal of supporting terrorism or engaging in terrorism and that is a crime that we will continue to make all attempts to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," he said. "That is the message we have for Canadians and for anyone involved."

Letts' father disputed the "knee-jerk assumption" that his son fought with Islamic State while in Syria, but added that if his son had broken the law, he should be tried, according to an interview with Canada's Global News radio on Sunday.

"If Jack Letts has done something wrong, I will be the first person to stand up and condemn him publicly and ask for him to go on trial and be punished for what he did," he said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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Governments should not have the power to revoke anyone's citizenship. Its madness.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The UK is wrong on this, as it was wrong in the case of the teenage bride, I forget her name.

Making the possession of nationality subject to the whims of some politician or bureaucrat weakens all of us who lay claim to that nationality.

It sounds like this bozo definitely requires a proper trial followed by punishment for his crimes, if he is found guilty; but arbitrary soiling of the integrity of a UK passport is not the way to do it.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Governments should not have the power to revoke anyone's citizenship. Its madness.

Making the possession of nationality subject to the whims of some politician or bureaucrat weakens all of us who lay claim to that nationality.

If you obtained another nationality then the one you were born with of course you should risk losing it when you committed an atrocious crime like cutting peoples head off in Syria while serving for ISIS.

People who leave to fight for ISIS should never be allowed to come back in the first place, let them rot in the desert they made their choice.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It sounds like this bozo definitely requires a proper trial followed by punishment for his crimes,

Sure. Right after UK politicians are put on trial for their own war crimes in the M.E. Until then I am not much interested in extra-territorial judicial over-reach.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If you obtained another nationality then the one you were born with

So the unwitting action of a newborn baby has more value than the willful action of a conscious adult??

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Give this 'Jihadi Jack' a parachute and make him jump over the middle of the ocean.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If you obtained another nationality then the one you were born with of course you should risk losing it when you committed an atrocious crime like cutting peoples head off in Syria while serving for ISIS.

No. If you commit an atrocious crime you should be put on trial for it, and if found guilty, subjected to the law of the land.

Invalid CSRF

0 ( +2 / -2 )

the law of the land

But the law of the land they are speaking of in this article is specifically the fact that you can revoke a person's nationality, that's the law in many countries around the world.

Every country that has given a nationality to someone has the right to evoke it if that person commits atrocious crimes such as joining ISIS and beheading people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Every country that has given a nationality to someone has the right to (r)evoke it if that person commits atrocious crimes

But give 'em a proper trial first to establish that they did commit those atrocious crimes.

Next thing you know we'll be hanging people on hearsay.

Invalid CSRF

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

But give 'em a proper trial first to establish that they did commit those atrocious crimes.

In my country (Belgium) there is whole procedure and a trail, in attendance of the suspect or not, before we revoke the nationality of a person who we gave our nationality and I suspect this is the case in other countries as well.

It is not a decision that is taken lightly and in the case of "Jihadi Jack" I assume there was little room for doubt.

Next thing you know we'll be hanging people on hearsay.

Nobody is even suggesting in the slightest we should hang people on hearsay, the law we are talking about just gives countries the possibilily to revoke the nationality of ISIS fighters.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No. If you commit an atrocious crime you should be put on trial for it, and if found guilty, subjected to the law of the land.

He is subject to the law of the land. IS membership is illegal for UK citizens and the law allows the Home Secretary to revoke the citizenship of anyone involved in activities against the UK, as long as it does not make them stateless. Lett's has not denied joining IS.

Whether you agree with it or not is it UK law. Shamima Begum has zero chance of getting her citizenship back, the Met Police has been quietly gathering evidence to counter her solicitor's claim that she was ignorant of what being a member of IS involves.

TBH, public opinion in the UK is very much on the side of the Home Secretary on this one.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We (westerners) should take responsibility for our jihadis . Not right to leave our garbage for the already overburdened Kurds to deal with. Take em back but them on trial as an example for others.

If “It is a crime to travel internationally with a goal of supporting terrorism or engaging in terrorism and that is a crime that we will continue to make all attempts to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," then do so.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

that teenage bride - murderous vile piece of garbage - can rot n her "refugee" camp.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Britain's decision prompted a response from Trudeau's Liberal government on Sunday, with Canada saying in a statement that the United Kingdom was trying to "off-load" its responsibilities in the case.

Canada have a point, they got shafted. I think they 'understand' UK's decision but didn't expect to be put in front of a fait accompli. Not great coming from a so called 'ally'.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Canada should take him back, drop him off in London, and refuse to take him back. Let them figure out how to deal with that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Canada should take him back, drop him off in London, and refuse to take him back. Let them figure out how to deal with that.

'Drop him off in London'. No airline would fly him, and if any did they would be subject to a fine. He wouldn't be allowed entry to the UK anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fly him diplomatically, bring him to the gates, a shoe on his ass, and push him through.

Dust your hands off. London's problem.

Of course it's not realistic. But it's what the UK deserves for shirking their responsibility.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lett's gave an interview to Sky News in the UK yesterday where he states he doesn't want to live in the UK anyway. So, the ball's in your court, Canada.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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