Canada slams UK decision to 'offload' Islamist fighter

Canada slams UK decision to 'offload' Islamist fighter
Copyright Chris Fleming/Flickr
By Euronews with REUTERS WORLD (EN)
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Britain has stripped dual national Jack Letts — known as "Jihadi Jack" — of his UK citizenship.


Canada have accused the UK of "offloading their responsibilities" on Sunday over Britain's decision to strip dual-national Jack Letts — known as "Jihadi Jack" — of his British citizenship.

Letts travelled from Britain to Syria to fight with Islamic State in 2014, according to media reports, and he has been held in a Kurdish prison for two years. In an ITV interview from February, Letts said he wanted to return to Britain because he considered it his home.

A statement from Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's office confirmed a British media report from Saturday, which said that Letts' UK passport had been torn up.

"Terrorism knows no borders, so countries need to work together to keep each other safe," the Canadian statement said. "Canada is disappointed that the United Kingdom has taken this unilateral action to offload their responsibilities."

The UK Home Office said in a statement to Euronews that it does not "routinely comment on individual cases" but that "decisions on depriving a dual national of citizenship are based on substantial advice from officials, lawyers and the intelligence agencies and all available information."

"This power is one way we can counter the terrorist threat posed by some of the most dangerous individuals and keep our country safe."

Back in February, the UK also stripped Shamima Begum of her British nationality. The exiled former bride of a fighter for the so-called Islamic State had left her home in east London with two friends back in 2015.

Since then, the teenager gave birth to three children — one of whom was born in a Syrian refugee camp in mid-February — but they all died.

Her case sparked a huge debate in the UK with opposition politicians condemning the decision to strip her of her nationality and to not bring her baby back to the UK as "shameful."

In its statement, the Canadian government also said that it was "aware of some Canadian citizens currently detained in Syria," adding that "there is no legal obligation to facilitate their return." Canada would not put its consular officials at "undue" risk in "this dangerous part of the world," it said.

READ MORE: ISIS bride Shamima Begum 'receiving legal aid' for battle to return to UK

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