Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

Canada 'disappointed' by British decision on Jihadi Jack

Canada is under no legal obligation to bring Canadians detained in Syria home

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he was disappointed the United Kingdom had revoked the citizenship of a British-Canadian man imprisoned in Syria. AP
Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he was disappointed the United Kingdom had revoked the citizenship of a British-Canadian man imprisoned in Syria. AP

Canada said on Sunday it is disappointed its close ally the United Kingdom has revoked the citizenship of a British-Canadian man imprisoned in Syria.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed in a statement that Jack Letts, dubbed Jihadi Jack by the media, has been stripped of his British citizenship.

“Canada is disappointed that the United Kingdom has taken this unilateral action to off-load their responsibilities,” Mr Goodale said.

A statement from the British Home Office said revoking British citizenship is one way it counters terrorist threats. It said it does not comment on individual cases.

“Decisions on depriving a dual national of citizenship are based on substantial advice from officials, lawyers and the intelligence agencies and all available information,” the statement said.

Letts, 23, has been behind bars in a Syrian Kurdish prison since 2017.

In 2015, he posted on Facebook that he would like to perform a “martyrdom operation” on a group of British soldiers. But by the end of that year, he was indicating he wanted to come home.

Letts’ parents, who live in Oxford, were found guilty earlier this year of sending him money. They received a suspended sentence.

Organic farmer John Letts, 58, and former Oxfam fundraiser Sally Lane, 56, said they were acting as any parents would have when they tried to send their son cash after he begged for help. They say they believed he was in mortal danger and trapped in Raqqa, Syria.

Police warned the family that “sending money to Jack is the same as sending money to ISIS”.

Mr Goodale said terrorism knows no borders, so countries need to work together to keep each other safe.

He also said Canada is under no legal obligation to bring Canadians detained in Syria home, and that the government would not expose consular officials to undue risk.

Updated: August 19, 2019 08:36 AM

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