Canada ‘disappointed’ after U.K. reportedly strips Jihadi Jack of citizenship

Jack Letts, a British-Canadian man who is accused of travelling to Syria to fight for ISIS, was reportedly stripped of his British citizenship, according to British media — a decision that has “disappointed” Canada.

Letts, who grew up in Oxford, U.K., and is commonly known as Jihadi Jack in British media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years. A Muslim convert, he had travelled to Syria at age 18.

“The government of Canada is aware that the United Kingdom revoked the citizenship of Jack Letts,” a statement released Sunday from the office of Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale read. “Terrorism knows no borders, so countries need to work together to keep each other safe.

“Canada is disappointed that the United Kingdom has taken this unilateral action to offload their responsibilities.”

A statement from the U.K.’s Home Office said revoking British citizenships is one way it counters terrorist threats, but it says the government does not comment on individual cases.

Letts’s father, John Letts, is Canadian who has appealed to both the Canadian and U.K. governments to repatriate his son.

Goodale’s office said it is aware of multiple Canadian citizens detained in Syria, but consular services will not be provided because of “undue risk in this dangerous part of the world.

“There is no legal obligation to facilitate their return,” the statement read. “We are not able to comment on specific cases or national security operational matters.”

Letts travelled to Syria in 2014. He told British broadcaster ITV News in February that he left Raqqa, the former hub for ISIS power in the region, and tried to travel overland to Turkey where he intended to live out his life. However, he was arrested by Kurdish forces and transferred to a prison in Qamishli in northern Syria, along the Turkish border.

He had told ITV News he was not seeking to return to Canada.  

“I feel British, I am British. My dad’s Canadian, if the U.K. accepted me I would go back to the U.K., it’s my home, but I don’t think that is going to happen,” he told ITV News.

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CBC | World News