Canadian women arrested after release from Syrian camp


Two Canadian women have been arrested after arriving in Canada following their repatriation from a detention camp in Syria.

The RCMP stated Wednesday that it arrested Oumaima Chouay, 27, on the airport in Montreal. Police stated she had been “the topic of an investigation by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) since November 2014,” and so they have filed terrorism costs in opposition to her. The costs in opposition to Chouay, which haven’t been confirmed in courtroom, embody participation in exercise of a terrorist group and leaving Canada to take action.

Canadian Kimberly Polman was additionally arrested after arriving in Montreal following her repatriation from the detention camp in Syria, based on her lawyer. Lawrence Greenspon advised CTV News in an e-mail that his shopper was arrested beneath Section 810 of the Criminal Code, a peace bond, and was en path to Abbotsford, B.C., whereas in police custody.

In a press release, Global Affairs Canada confirmed that 4 Canadians – two youngsters and two women – have been repatriated from northeast Syria.

“Canada thanks the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria for its co-operation and acknowledges its efforts in offering take care of the detained people beneath a particularly tough safety state of affairs and opposed circumstances,” the assertion stated. “The security and safety of Canadians, each at dwelling and overseas, is a high precedence of the Government of Canada. Canada carried out the operation on that foundation and ensured the well being and well-being of the 4 Canadians.”

Global Affairs additionally thanked the United States for its help and stated it can’t present any particulars of the repatriation because of privateness and safety considerations.

Polman was arrested by Kurdish fighters in Syria for her alleged affiliation to ISIS in 2019, and had been detained there till her release. The camp is presently dwelling to greater than 2,600 internally displaced individuals (IDPs) which allegedly embody the wives, widows and households of ISIS members.

Polman has insisted she was lured to Syria in 2015 by her husband, an ISIS member whom she met on-line. In a 2020 report, Human Rights Watch described Polman as a U.S.-Canadian twin citizen who transformed to Islam as an grownup and largely lived in Canada earlier than travelling to Syria to be an ISIS nurse.

Until her release, Polman was one in every of almost 50 Canadians believed to be held in Kurdish-run camps in northeastern Syria. According to Human Rights Watch, greater than half of these Canadians are youngsters, many beneath the age of seven.

In an interview earlier in 2022, Polman described dire camp situations and her deteriorating well being.

“Mentally, I’ve gone downhill, particularly the final 12 months,” Polman advised CTV National News on the time. “I tried to take my life a number of occasions and I can see critical indicators of melancholy in among the different Canadian women as nicely.”

Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill Wednesday morning, each Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser maintained that repatriated Canadians who supported terrorist teams overseas ought to face legal costs, no matter their circumstances round their actions, detainment or repatriation.

“Fundamentally, travelling for the aim of supporting terrorism is a criminal offense in Canada, and anybody who travelled for the aim of supporting terrorism ought to face legal costs,” Trudeau stated. “I’m not going to talk on to any given state of affairs as a result of it is within the fingers of the police and maybe finally the courts, however it’s important that we make it possible for folks know, you cannot get away with supporting terrorism on this nation, whatever the circumstances.”

Fraser added that the federal authorities is monitoring the wellbeing of Canadians in overseas detention camps and is conscious youngsters are “concerned in these sorts of circumstances,” as nicely.

“I feel what folks want to grasp is that we depend on our legislation enforcement companions to make sure that anyone who’s been travelling to participate in terrorist behaviour, to be a part of a gaggle, has dedicated a criminal offense, whether or not they’re overseas or in Canada, and so they’ll be handled as such,” Fraser stated.

While European nations reminiscent of Germany, Denmark and France have repatriated their residents in ISIS detention camps with the assistance of native Kurdish officers, Canada beforehand appeared hesitant to arrange releases for grownup residents.

Global Affairs Canada did undertake a coverage framework in January 2021 that will have allowed Polman – who a Doctors Without Borders examination discovered was struggling from situations reminiscent of hepatitis – to qualify for “extraordinary help” and repatriation because of an “imminent, life-threatening medical situation, with no prospect of receiving medical therapy” in Syria. However, Human Rights Watch has accused the federal authorities of blocking subsequent makes an attempt to convey Polman again to Canada.

In September 2021, Greenspon sued the federal authorities on behalf of 11 households in an effort to convey 26 Canadians dwelling from Syria: 14 youngsters, 4 males and eight women, together with Polman.

“They live in horrible, horrible situations and we’re going to federal courtroom to attempt to require Global Affairs Canada to make an official request for his or her repatriation,” Greenspon advised CTV National News on Tuesday. “All that [Kurdish officials in Syria] require is an official request by Canada with the intention to make that occur.”

Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill Wednesday, Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino wouldn’t say whether or not the federal authorities and the RCMP will work to repatriate different Canadians presently detained in camps in northeastern Syria. In instances the place a Canadian detainee is suspected of committing a criminal offense, reminiscent of supporting or partaking in terrorism, he stated the RCMP determine if, and when, to put adjustments.

“There are rules that we do check out round that concern, so we check out the character of the circumstances of whether or not or not there was any legal conduct,” Mendicino stated. “But once more, these aren’t selections or decisions which are made by elected members of presidency. We reserve these selections for police, and for good causes.”

Mendicino wouldn’t say whether or not the federal government would determine to repatriate Canadian detainees with out a warrant for his or her arrest by the RCMP.

With recordsdata from CTV National News Vancouver Bureau Chief Melanie Nagy, CTV National News Parliamentary Bureau Reporter Annie Bergeron-Oliver and CTV National News Chief International Correspondent Paul Workman 


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