A study in contrasts

A few months ago we saw and read stories, on Global News and in the Toronto Sun, about Canadians who had been Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq who had, along with their wives and children, been captured and detained by Kurdish forces. The Kurds want to send them back to Canada (and other ‘parent’ nations) but, as Global News reported, one “case has placed the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a difficult position. Kurdish officials want to hand Ali and a dozen other Canadians over to Ottawa … [but] … with the RCMP struggling to bring charges against Canadians who have taken part in overseas terror groups, there is no guarantee Ali would face arrest upon his return.

The Trudeau government has sent mixed messages. Prime Minister Trudeau, himself, has tried very hard to avoid calling them terrorists, preferring such terms as “foreign travellers,” but it appears that the RCMP wants to arrest them but seems to be having difficulty convincing crown attorneys that they can make a case about activities that happened in a war zone in the Middle East when there is no direct, eye witness testimony that can be cross-examined in open court. It is an established legal principle, I believe, that the Crown must never bring a case that it has no hope of winning … that would be malicious prosecution.

Britain appears to have solved that particular problem by making it an offence, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to travel to certain designated countries without good reason; the Home Secretary, according to media reports, has “called for an amendment to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, calling for measures to imprison any Briton travelling to terror-ridden countries without reasonable grounds … [because] … Only 40 out of 400 British jihadists who returned home from countries like Syria and Iraq after fighting with ISIS were jailed … [and] … A total of 360 jihadists were allowed to go free, after officials deemed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute them.” That appears to be the same problem Canada faces. The report goes on tot say that Britain “will follow in Australia’s footsteps, with plans to prosecute anyone travelling to ISIS hotspots without a reasonable excuse.

Now, I see, in the Melbourne Herald Sun, that “Islamic State terrorist Neil Prakash will never again set foot in Australia as a free man after the Government stripped him of his Australian citizenship … [and] … Melbourne-born Prakash, 27, was notified on December 21 that he was no longer an Australian citizen … [and the report says that he is] … the 12th person to lose their Australian citizenship after joining a terrorist organisation …[but] … the first person ever to be confirmed by the Government as having had his Australian citizenship ripped away due to his terrorist activities.” The reports says that “Prakash has been languishing in the H-Type Prison in Gaziantep, Turkey, since October 2016, when he was caught defecting from Islamic State and sneaking out of Syria across the Turkish border … [and he was] … Born in Melbourne in May 1991 to a Cambodian mother and a Fijian father, Prakash held dual Australian/Fijian citizenship … [and] … It’s thought the Fijians have been notified of the revocation of his Australian citizenship.” This ~ revoking citizenship ~ is something that former Prime Minister Stephen Harper wanted to do but it is also something that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has firmly rejected.

There are reports that some countries ~ Britain, France and the USA have been mentioned ~ have ordered their soldiers to kill nationals who are fighting for Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS. I am reasonably certain that there are no such direct orders but that commanders have been told, officially, that soldiers who are in a fire fight with terrorists need not worry about the nationality of the person who is shooting at them … they should kill him (or her) first and worry about the details later. There are, as far as I can tell, no “hit squads” out there of e.g. French soldiers looking, specifically, to kill French terrorists, but no one is worried when an American, British or French soldier happens to kill an American, British or French national who was fighting against them. Canada does not have any such “hit squads,” as far as I know … nor should it have.

What we do have, as Graeme Gordon said in the National Post article linked just above, is a policy that is riddled in inconsistencies, Canada revokes citizenship for those whose parents made false statements but not for those who took up arms against the West and who may have been complicit in the most vile atrocities. Canada needs a standards based, sensible, comprehensible to most Canadians, citizenship policy, one that is more akin to those of Australia and Britain which recognize that terrorism is a serious crime, one worth, at least, a long prison sentence and, perhaps, revocation of citizenship where it is possible … and for that I am 100% sure we need a new prime minister, a grown up prime minister.

2 thoughts on “A study in contrasts”

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