U.K. citizenship stripped from 'Jihadi Jack,' leaving him only with Canadian citizenship
British-Canadian Jack Letts, nicknamed by the British media “Jihadi Jack,” has been stripped of his British citizenship, leaving him only with Canadian citizenship.
John Letts confirmed to Global News’ Roy Green that his son’s British citizenship has been revoked.
A spokesman for Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said in a statement the government is aware of the U.K.’s decision.
“Terrorism knows no borders, so countries need to work together to keep each other safe. Canada is disappointed that the United Kingdom has taken this unilateral action to off-load their responsibilities,” the statement read.
“Investigating, arresting, charging and prosecuting any Canadian involved in terrorism or violent extremism is our primary objective. They must be held accountable for their actions.”
The Mail on Sunday was the first to report the news. Sky News and ITV News say they have verified this latest update on Letts’ case with their sources.
Letts joined ISIS as a teenager and is currently being held in a Kurdish-run jail in northern Syria.
A Muslim convert, Letts was a U.K. citizen who also holds Canadian citizenship through his father. In 2014, he traveled to Syria, where he was captured by Kurdish forces.
His Oxford, U.K.-based parents made headlines earlier this summer when a British court convicted them of funding terrorism.
John and Jane Letts were found guilty of sending their son £223 (CAD$348) in September 2015. Police had reportedly warned them not to do so.
WATCH: ‘Jihadi Jack’s’ parents stand trial for funding terrorism
Letts’ citizenship was reportedly revoked under Theresa May, who resigned as prime minister July 24.
Under international law, countries cannot revoke a person’s citizenship if doing so renders them stateless.
The Canadian government once had the power to revoke citizenship for reasons of treason, spying, or terrorism — possible because of a Citizenship Act amendment enacted in 2015. But the Liberals repealed that amendment.
Former U.K. defence minister Tobias Ellwood addressed dual nationalities of ISIS fighters on Twitter Sunday, saying that conflicts have “changed but international laws have not been updated.”
“If (we) are to stay safe and prevent ISIS 2.0 we must work with our allies and think more strategically than simply removing UK citizenship from radicalised dual nationals,” he tweeted.
DUAL NATIONAL FIGHTERS:
The character of conflict has changed but international laws have not been updated.
If are to stay safe and prevent ISIS 2.0 we must work with our allies and think more strategically than simply removing UK citizenship from radicalised dual nationals. pic.twitter.com/fLsWR1MTtQ
— Tobias Ellwood MP (@Tobias_Ellwood) August 18, 2019
— With files from Reuters and Global News