Lawyer challenges federal decision to deny help to woman with six children in Syria

OTTAWA — A lawyer is asking the Federal Court to direct the Canadian government to repatriate a Quebec woman being held in a Syrian detention camp with her six children.

The woman's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, says in a newly filed application that Ottawa's refusal to help her return to Canada means indefinite detention overseas, which is "tantamount to exile."

The family is among the many foreign nationals in Syrian camps run by Kurdish forces that took back the war-torn area from the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Global Affairs Canada told Greenspon on June 21 that the woman has "extremist ideological beliefs'' that may lead her to act violently, and the government has no ability to prevent such conduct.

Greenspon dismisses the argument, saying the government could deal with the woman as needed through Canada's justice system.

He notes the government has repatriated eight Canadian women from Syrian detention camps, seven of whom were subject to strict bail conditions pending federal applications for terrorist peace bonds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2023.

The Canadian Press