Muslim convert Jihadi Jack could use a legal loophole to escape prosecution for joining ISIS is he moves to Canada because he went to Syria from Britain.
Jack Letts, 24, fled his middle class life in Oxfordshire to fight in Syria in 2014, but has been begging to return home since being captured by Kurdish forces and jailed in 2017.
Letts who has dual UK-Canadian nationality, was deprived of his passport by Sajid Javid on Sunday, igniting a row where Canada has accused Britain of ‘off-loading’ its responsibilities.
And now, John McKay, chair of Canada’s committee and national security said even if they do accept Letts into the country, he will escape prosecution due to a legal loophole, as reported by The Telegraph.
Jack Letts poses in Syria in a photo shared on his Facebook after fleeing his middle class life in Oxfordshire
Jihadi Jack discusses the removal of his British citizenship, saying he was ‘not surprised’ by the decision
He said: ‘The problem is that we are between a rock and a hard place.
‘Our legislation works on the assumption-and it is actually stated in legislation-that you have to leave from Canada in order to be prosecuted for a terrorist offence. We are unable to initiate any prosecution.’
Mr McKay added the decision to revoke Letts citizenship by outgoing Home Secretary Mr Javid, was ‘gutless’ and that ‘everything about him is British.’
A spokesman for Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said: ‘Canada is disappointed that the United Kingdom has taken this unilateral action to off-load their responsibilities.’
Speaking to ITV News from jail, Letts said he has accepted that he’ll never see his parents and but was ‘not surprised’ by the UK Government’s decision to take away his passport.
He said: ‘I’m not surprised, I was expecting something like this to be honest. I’ve been here for two-and-a-half years and the British Government has not helped me at all.
Sally Lane and John Letts (pictured), who is Canadian, sent £223 to their son while he was in Syria despite learning he had joined IS. They were convicted of funding terrorism
‘Even if they didn’t strip me of my citizenship, it’s like I’m not a British citizen anyway.
‘I don’t think where you are from is based on a piece of paper. These things have very little meaning to me to be honest. I don’t think British citizenship is a big deal.’
‘I’ve always felt that I am Canadian, my dad is Canadian, and I never grew up being accepted as a British person anyway.’
Letts, who holds dual UK-Canadian nationality, said he hoped Canada would take him in, but accepted that he could well be jailed if he were ever to get there.
But he added: ‘If I’m really a Canadian citizen, why haven’t they taken me by now? 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.’
When asked if he had anything to say to Boris Johnson, Letts said: ‘I think Boris Johnson is ridiculous, to be honest, I think most of the British population do. It’s amazing he actually became Prime Minister.’
Earlier today, Letts’ parents slammed the government for stripping their son of British citizenship and claimed that he had been tortured by captors.
John Letts told Good Morning Britain that his son suffers from extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that caused a fixation with Islam.
Mr Letts said the government was in denial for failing to bring Jack home as he alleged that Kurdish forces had tortured him and accused Britain of passing the buck to his native Canada.
‘The British government is shirking its responsibility its passing on a problem that they should be dealing with,’ he said.
He added: ‘The victims of Isis crime deserve some justice here we are shirking our responsibility and passing it on to the Canadians.’
Mr Letts believes his son had ‘humanitarian reasons for going to the Middle East’ and said: ‘He did not go to Syria to join ISIS.’
He and his wife Sally Lane were found guilty of funding terrorism in June after they sent him £223 while he was in Syria despite concerns he was involved in terror.
But they avoided jail after being sentenced to 15 months, suspended for 12 months.
Today, Mr Letts that if his son has worked with terrorists in the region then he should be arrested and punished, adding: ‘I’m not soft on terror.’
Since his son’s British citizenship has been revoked, a source said that the Canadian government retorted that Jack had ‘very little to do with Canada’.
Mr Letts (pictured on Good Morning Britain today) says that his son suffers from mental health issues which contributed to his decision to join ISIS
Speaking to Richard Bacon and Ranvir Singh today, Mr Letts said that his son converted to Islam during a mental health crisis.
He said that OCD crippled his son’s ability to focus so badly that the ‘top student’ couldn’t even read properly.
But he found peace in religion and mastered Arabic within about six months, also memorising the Koran.
Mr Letts said that with this new religious zeal came fears of failing to observe the faith correctly.
‘He was convinced that if he didn’t perform the rituals of Islam properly that he would it would be that sense of doom so he would take an hour to wash,’ he said. ‘It became really dominant.’
Letts’ mother Sally Lane, said yesterday that the British Government was ‘shirking responsibility’ by revoking their son’s citizenship.
Mr Letts, 58, told Channel 4 News: ‘I thought British citizens had certain rights. I thought we had the right to innocent until proven guilty, the right of a trial, the right of free speech.’
Ms Lane, 57, said: ‘It was a real shock that your Government can do this to you without any form of redress or discussion or way of actually contacting Jack, given that he’s being held incommunicado and has no access to a lawyer.
‘Jack and other people are now in a legal black hole.’
The decision to tear up Letts’ passport sparked a diplomatic row between Whiehall and Ottawa.
Letts is among more than 120 dual nationals who have been stripped of their British citizenship since 2016. International law prevents the Government from making people ‘stateless’ so the move can only be taken against those with two passports.
After converting to Islam at 16, Letts travelled to the Middle East in 2014, where he married an Iraqi woman. He was captured and jailed in 2017 by forces fighting IS.