Two girls taken from Lev Tahor sect now on hunger strike: group member
Published Monday, March 10, 2014 10:37AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 10, 2014 3:28PM EDT
Two teenage girls who were taken from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect Lev Tahor and placed in the care of the Children’s Aid Society are now on a hunger strike, according to a member of the group.
The Lev Tahor member said in an email that the girls, aged 14 and 16, have been on a hunger strike since Saturday afternoon.
Six children were placed in the care of the Children’s Aid Society after a group of Lev Tahor members landed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport Saturday night. The group had been denied entry to Trinidad and Tobago and put on a flight back to Canada.
Last year, a Quebec court had ordered that 14 children from the sect be placed in foster care after investigating allegations that Lev Tahor children were being mistreated and weren’t being properly educated. The sect has denied all allegations.
After Lev Tahor members left their Quebec homes in the middle of the night in November and settled in Chatham, Ont., a judge found that their move had been made to avoid a custody proceeding in Quebec.
Last week, an Ontario judge ordered that the 14 children be removed from Lev Tahor and placed in the care of Chatham-Kent Children’s Services. On Thursday, police confirmed that 12 of the children named in the emergency order were taken from Canada by their parents.
Two families whose children were named in the order left for Guatemala. But nine members of the group, which included the six children who were taken by the CAS in Toronto, were held during a stopover in Trinidad and Tobago because they started “acting strangely,” the country’s attorney general said Sunday. They were later sent back to Canada.
Two other Lev Tahor members, a 17-year-old girl and her five-month-old daughter, were apprehended by children’s services at the Calgary airport on Sunday afternoon. They were expected to be flown back to Ontario.