Two Lev Tahor members apprehended in Calgary
Published Sunday, March 9, 2014 7:12AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 9, 2014 10:04PM EDT
Two more members of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect that left Canada after an Ontario judge ordered the removal of 14 children were apprehended Sunday afternoon at the Calgary airport.
Calgary Police confirm that officers assisted officials with Chatham-Kent Children’s Services in apprehending a 17-year-old female and her five-month-old daughter as they stepped off a flight at Calgary International Airport. They arrived at the airport at 3:30 p.m. local time Sunday, but it remains unclear where they had travelled from.
The pair remains in the custody of children’s services. They were to be flown back to Ontario, police said, and were expected to arrive at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport late Sunday.
Last week, a judge ordered that the 14 children be removed from the Lev Tahor sect and be 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 ordered removed from their custody left for Guatemala. However, nine members of the sect were held by authorities during a stopover in Trinidad and Tobago.
The attorney general of Trinidad and Tobago, Anand Ramlogan, said Sunday that the group was “red-flagged” by immigration authorities, who became suspicious when they started “acting strangely.”
The group was put up at a local hotel while authorities checked into their status and learned of the child protection order, he said.
“When they arrived in Trinidad they fell into a bit of a Twilight Zone because they were denied entry to Trinidad and Tobago,” Ramlogan told CTV News Channel in a telephone interview.
“And because we were apprised of the situation by our Canadian counterparts, we could not in fact let them pass through Trinidad to go to Guatemala to evade the jurisdiction and the authority of the Canadian courts and the law enforcement agencies.”
According to Ramlogan, the group appealed a decision to deny them entry to Trinidad and Tobago. However, he said, “there was no lawful basis or any legal justification for the group to remain within our jurisdiction and borders.”
The group was put on a flight back to Canada shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday, he said.
Peel Police confirmed late Saturday that the group landed in Toronto at 10:30 p.m. Saturday and the six children were placed in the care of the Children’s Aid Society. Three adults were processed by the Canada Border Services Agency.
Last year, a Quebec court had ordered that 14 children from the sect be placed in foster care after investigating allegations that the children in the community were being mistreated, malnourished and weren’t being properly educated. The sect has denied all allegations.
The community of about 200 people left their homes in Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., during the night and settled in Chatham, Ont. Last month, a judge found that their move had been made to avoid a custody proceeding in Quebec.
With files from CTV Calgary