Jack Letts Stripped Of British Citizenship For Joining IS

Posted on August 19, 2019

Jack Letts was 18 when he left his Oxfordshire home and joined IS fighters in 2014 – marrying in Iraq and moving to Raqqa in Syria.

Mr Letts converted to Islam when he was 16 and is a dual UK-Canadian national.

Captured by the Kurdish YPG forces as he attempted to flee to Turkey in May 2017, the 24-year-old has since been held in jail in northern Syria.

The Mail on Sunday reports the decision to revoke his British citizenship was made in the last actions of former Prime Ministers Theresa May’s government.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Decisions on depriving a dual national of citizenship are based on substantial advice from officials, lawyers and the intelligence agencies and all available information.

“This power is one way we can counter the terrorist threat posed by some of the most dangerous individuals and keep our country safe.”

In response, the Canadian government has criticized the UK’s action:

“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.

“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.”

He used to attend the Bengali mosque in Cowley Road, Oxford before he came into contact with men with a more radical ideology.

In an interview with ITV earlier this year, Mr Letts said he wanted to return to the UK, but admitted he did not think that would be likely.

“I’m not going to say I’m innocent. I’m not innocent. I deserve what comes to me. But I just want it to be… appropriate… not just haphazard, freestyle punishment in Syria,” he said at the time.

His parents, John Letts, 58, who also has dual British and Canadian citizenship, and his mother, Sally Lane, 57, were convicted at the Old Bailey in June of one charge of funding terrorism in September 2015.

The pair, who sent Jack £223, avoided jail after being sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

Under international law, a person can only be stripped of their citizenship by a government as long as it does not leave the individual stateless.

The latest decision follows a move by the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid to strip Islamic State bride Shamima Begum of her British citizenship in February after the 19-year-old turned up in a refugee camp in Syria ahead of the fall of the group’s self-proclaimed territorial caliphate.

Ms Begum was one of three girls from Bethnal Green, east London, who left the UK aged just 15 in February 2015 and travelled to Syria to join Islamic State.

It was thought Ms Begum may have a claim in Bangladesh because of her family background, something Bangladeshi officials denied.

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