BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 A.M.) – The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) may hand over the infamous Canadian Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) terrorist dubbed “Jihadi Jack” to Canada, a new report claimed this past week.
Jack Letts, a suspected Daesh* fighter with dual British-Canadian citizenship, is likely to be extradited to Ottawa rather than to London, The Guardian reported on Saturday, citing unnamed Canadian and Kurdish sources.
Letts, dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media, is among alleged extremists held in Kurdish custody in northern Syria. Canadian government is said to have agreed to extradite an estimated 11 citizens, including Letts.
Unlike the UK, which maintains that it cannot provide consular assistance to British citizens overseas if there are no local UK consular services available, Canada says that citizens with purported terrorist links detained in Syria and Iraq have the right to return home to face questioning or stand trial.
However, the daily claims, Ottawa has recently backed out of the deal “without giving reasons.” One explanation is that the government fears an influx of suspected Daesh fighters to the country before the 2019 elections, said Canadian terrorism expert Amarnath Amarasingam.
Long Way Home
The 23-year-old Jack Letts, from Oxford, travelled to Syria in 2014 and was detained by a Kurdish militant group in May 2017, after he fled the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa.
There is still uncertainty hanging over his activities in Syria: while Kurdish officials have accused him of being a member of Daesh, Letts has denied having any links with the infamous terrorist group. Letts contacted Canadian diplomats from prison earlier this year and begged for their help to escape alleged ill-treatment by the SDF.
As Letts’ repatriation to Canada has been put on ice, there’s still an opportunity he can return to the UK and face charges there if he is allowed to retain his British citizenship.
According to a Canadian government report dated late 2017, there were “just over 190 extremists” with links to Canada engaged in terrorist activity overseas, mostly in Syria and Iraq.
Sources: Sputnik, The Guardian