Women brought back to Canada from ISIS camps released on bail

Click to play video: 'Some Canadians detained in Syria returning home'
Some Canadians detained in Syria returning home
Some Canadian women and their children, who've been held for years in detention camps for family members of suspected ISIS militants, are leaving Syria and headed back to Canada. Touria Izri looks at the repatriation of the detainees, and the murky legal situation they face upon their returns – Apr 5, 2023

Two Toronto-area women were ordered released from custody on Tuesday after returning to Canada from detention camps for ISIS suspects in northeast Syria.

Ammara Amjad and Dure Ahmed had been detained by the RCMP on terrorism allegations since landing in Montreal with their children last Thursday.

But on Tuesday, the Ontario court ordered them released on bail. Both were to return to court on May 12.

Crown prosecutors are seeking terrorism peace bonds against the women to limit the risks they might pose.

The bail decisions mean that all four women the federal government brought back to Canada from Syria less than a week ago will be out of custody.

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An Edmonton woman, Aimee Vasconez, was already released on bail last week. Prosecutors have also asked the court to impose a terrorism peace bond in her case.

The fourth woman, who is from Toronto, was not arrested.

Click to play video: 'Surrey bus attack being investigated as ISIS terrorism'
Surrey bus attack being investigated as ISIS terrorism

Terrorism peace bonds are not criminal charges. Instead, they place a list of restrictions on suspects for up to a year.

Typically, those conditions include wearing an ankle bracelet, attending de-radicalization counselling and staying away from ISIS literature.

Violating the conditions is grounds for arrest.

The women all left Canada during the Syrian conflict and were captured by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters during the collapse of ISIS in 2018 and 2019.

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The details of the police investigations into their alleged involvement in ISIS are the subject of a publication ban imposed by the courts.

The government initially declined to help get Canadians out of the makeshift prisons and detention camps for suspected ISIS members in Syria.

But officials changed course this year after their families filed an appeal in the Federal Court, and last week four women and their 10 children were brought home by Global Affairs Canada.

Toronto woman who married an ISIS fighter and returned to Canada last week without being arrested. Stewart Bell/Global News

Two other women, both from Edmonton, were also scheduled to return but could not be located in the sprawling Al-Hol camp.

A Vancouver woman also went missing last year. A Montreal woman remains at a camp with her six children while she undergoes a security assessment.

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“Around the world, like-minded countries are taking steps to repatriate their respective citizens from northeastern Syria,” Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.

According to the Public Safety Canada website, Canadians who return home after taking part in terrorist groups may “conduct terrorist attacks or attempt to radicalize others to violence.”

“The RCMP actively investigates Canadian extremist travellers to collect evidence with a view to laying criminal charges and supporting successful prosecutions,” it said.

But Canada has struggled to bring charges against those returning from ISIS, with police citing the challenges of collecting evidence from overseas war zones.

National security agencies have instead relied on peace bonds, surveillance, the no-fly list and refusal of passports.

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