Trudeau keeps mum on whether 'Jihadi Jack' will be allowed in Canada
Published Monday, August 19, 2019 3:09PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 20, 2019 6:14AM EDT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not confirm whether Jack Letts, an accused ISIS fighter and former dual Canadian-British citizen—who recently had his British citizenship revoked—will be allowed to come live in Canada.
Letts, who has been given the nickname "Jihadi Jack" by British media, has been held in a Kurdish prison for two years after going to Syria in 2014 at age 18 and crossing into ISIS-held territory.
In an interview with British broadcaster ITV news this week, Letts expressed hope that he could go to Canada now that he's no longer a British citizen. He said all of his relatives are in Canada anyway and he has been in the country multiple times.
“I hope Canada does take me from here if they can," he told the interviewer.
Earlier this year, Letts told ITV that when the 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people took place, he thought they were a "good thing."
"At the time, you have this sort of - and this is what war does to you - you have this idea of 'why shouldn't it happen to them?' …But then I realized, they have nothing to do with it," he told interviewer Rohit Kachroo.
When pressed multiple times on Canada’s response to Letts losing his U.K. citizenship, Trudeau would not directly respond to questions of whether Letts would be allowed to make Canada his home.
"It is a crime to travel internationally with a goal of supporting terrorism or engaging in terrorism, and that is a crime that we will continue to make all attempts to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. That is the message we have for Canadians and for anyone involved," Trudeau said, speaking to reporters in Quebec City on Monday.
Letts' parents have been advocating for their son, claiming that he is not a terrorist and is actually in need of Canadian protection. His parents were also found guilty of funding terrorism when they attempted to send Letts money in Syria, though they said the money was for "people smugglers" in a bid to get their son out of Syria.
They each received suspended sentences of 12 months in prison.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale slammed the U.K.'s decision in a statement released on Sunday, accusing the U.K. of taking "unilateral action to off-load their responsibilities."
"Terrorism knows no borders, so countries need to work together to keep each other safe," the statement read.
The U.K.'s home office released their own statement defending the decision, claiming that it was made based on "substantial advice” from experts.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has also weighed in on the issue, saying Letts should remain locked up. The Tory leader said he would "not lift a finger" to help Letts come to Canada.
With a file from the Canadian Press