The federal government is appealing a Federal Court ruling that ordered the government to repatriate four Canadian men being detained in northeastern Syria in prisons for suspected ISIS members.
In its notice to the Federal Court of Appeal, the government asks that the court order be stayed pending the appeal.
The Canadian men — who have not been charged with crimes — are currently in prisons run by Kurdish forces in Northern Syria and are being detained for alleged ISIS ties. The Canadian government has listed ISIS as a terrorist group.
The Federal Court ruled last month that the four men had a right to return to Canada under S. 6(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The section says that “every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.”
But in its notice of appeal, the government argues that the court erred in its interpretation the right to enter Canada under S. 6(1).
“The court has effectively created a right to be returned,” the notice appeal reads.
Prior to the Federal Court’s decision, the federal government made a deal to repatriate 19 women and children from detention camps in northeastern Syria. The court’s ruling only applied to the four men.
Jack Letts, who has been imprisoned in Syria for more than four years, is one of the four men.
Letts admitted in a 2019 interview to joining ISIS in Syria and called it the “stupidest thing he’s ever done,” according to an interview with U.K.-based ITV News. His family says he made that admission under duress. His family also has said he was imprisoned by ISIS three times and since 2014 has denied being part of the terror group.
Letts was a British-Canadian dual citizen before his British citizenship was revoked three years ago.
Barbara Jackman, the lawyer representing Letts’ family, told CBC News last month that his family hasn’t spoken to him in years and doesn’t know what his condition is.