MONTREAL: Canada does not intend to repatriate the Muslim convert dubbed “Jihadi Jack,” who is being held in northern Syria after joining the Islamic State group, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed Tuesday.
Jack Letts, 24, who was a dual UK-Canadian national, was captured by Kurdish forces in Syria in 2017 and is languishing in jail there.
Goodale’s statement comes a day after Britain stripped Letts of his citizenship, placing his fate in Canada’s hands.
“We have no obligation to facilitate his travel from his present circumstances, and we have no intention of facilitating that travel,” Goodale said in an interview with the CBC.
Goodale had tweeted the same sentiment Monday before officially confirming it in the televised interview.
“This individual and others have made the calculated decision to leave the comfortable confines of Canadian democracy, to travel halfway around the world to associate themselves with the most evil and violent terrorism in several generations,” Goodale said.
“They need to assume the consequences for their responsibility.”
In a recent interview with ITV News, Letts said he had thought that Canada would help him.
“I never grew up being accepted as a British person,” he said, adding that losing his British citizenship was “not something I recognise.”
“But, in the same way Britain hasn’t helped me for two and a half years, Canada has done nothing. I always thought Canada was a better country, I had this illusion.”
Letts converted to Islam at the age of 16 and fled his home in Oxfordshire, central England, two years later to join IS.
He was captured in May 2017 by Kurdish forces while trying to flee for Turkey and has been detained since in northern Syria.
His parents were convicted in September 2015 of funding terrorism by sending him money after he joined IS but were spared jail in June.