Federal Court of Appeal overturns order to help return men in Syrian camps

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

The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned a judge’s declaration that four Canadian men being held in Syrian camps are entitled to Ottawa’s help to return home.

In a ruling released today, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal says the federal government is not obligated under the law to repatriate the men.

The ruling sets aside a January decision by Federal Court Justice Henry Brown, who directed Ottawa to request repatriation of the men as soon as reasonably possible and provide them with passports or emergency travel documents.

Brown said the men were also entitled to have a representative of the federal government travel to Syria to help facilitate their release once their captors agree to hand them over.

The Canadians are among the many foreign nationals in Syrian camps and jails run by Kurdish forces that reclaimed the strife-torn region from the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

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The men include Jack Letts, whose parents John Letts and Sally Lane have waged a campaign to pressure Ottawa to come to his aid.

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