RCMP arrest two women repatriated to Canada from Syria, seek peace bonds | CBC News


The RCMP are seeking terrorism peace bonds for two women who were recently repatriated to Canada from Syria along with three teenage girls.

The two Edmonton women were supposed to be on a repatriation flight in April, part of a larger group of 19 Canadian women and children who were being held in Kurdish-run camps for ISIS suspects and their family members in northeastern Syria.

The two women were arrested upon their arrival in Montreal and then transported to Alberta for a bail hearing in Edmonton on the peace bond applications.

“The individuals were released from custody and are subject to a number of bail conditions pending the hearing of this application,” the RCMP said in a statement released Friday.

The RCMP said a criminal investigation remains ongoing.

Terrorism peace bonds are protection orders that allow a judge to impose restrictions on people who police suspect may commit a crime — but they do not mean that a crime has necessarily been committed. Neither women have been charged with crimes.

Peace bonds were issued in a similar way to three women who were repatriated to Canada from Syria in April. In that case, the peace bond required the women to meet certain conditions for up to a year.

Ottawa lawyer Lawrence Greenspon, who’s representing the families, told CBC News on Saturday that restrictions associated with a peace bond can typically include a monitoring bracelet, a curfew and limitations on accessing the internet.

“The first thing that people need to know about it is it’s not a criminal charge. We have provisions in the Criminal Code to charge people who have left Canada to support terrorism —  and this is not that,” he said.

“Even though they were arrested, it doesn’t mean they have been charged criminally — and they have not been charged criminally.”

WATCH | Mother of detainee Jack Letts discusses court case: 

Mother of Canadian detained in Syria asks why others ‘are receiving the justice my son is being denied’

Sally Lane is the mother of Jack Letts, who has been imprisoned in Syria for more than four years after allegedly joining ISIS. She asks why other people are being repatriated, including a group of Canadian women brought home earlier this year. ‘For what reason, because he’s male?’ Lane asked. ‘The [Charter of Rights] is for everyone, it’s not just for children, it’s not just for women. It’s for everyone.’

In a statement on Thursday, Global Affairs Canada said, “Canada extends its gratitude to the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria for its co-operation in conducting another operation under difficult security circumstances. We also thank the United States for its assistance in the repatriation of Canadians and for continuing to play a key role in resolving the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region.”

The return of the women stems from a years-long legal battle. Families of Canadians detained in Syria sued the federal government, arguing that its refusal to repatriate their family members violated their Charter rights. Ottawa ended up striking a deal to return six adult women and 13 children, but it continued to refuse to repatriate four adult men who were also detained.

A case to force the government to bring the men home suffered a setback in May, when the Federal Court of Appeal sided with the government. Greenspon said he anticipates appealing that ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

He also said that next week, he intends to challenge the government on its decision to repatriate the six children of a Quebec woman, but not the woman herself. The government has said the woman has “extremist ideological beliefs” that may lead her to act violently, and the government cannot ensure that no such conduct occurs. Greenspon argues that Ottawa could deal with the woman through the justice system.


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