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18 Aug, 2019 10:14

IS fighter ‘Jihadi Jack’ stripped of UK citizenship, sparking diplomatic spat with Canada – report

IS fighter ‘Jihadi Jack’ stripped of UK citizenship, sparking diplomatic spat with Canada – report

The 24-year-old IS fighter known as ‘Jihadi Jack’ has been stripped of his British citizenship, reportedly sparking a heated diplomatic row between the UK and Canada.

Muslim convert Jack Letts left his Oxfordshire home in 2014 to allegedly fight with the so-called Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Syria.

The Mail on Sunday and ITV News both reported on Sunday that Letts has been stripped of his citizenship and the decision was one of the last acts of Theresa May’s administration. 

As Letts holds dual citizenship through his Canadian father, responsibility for him now rests in the hands of the Canadian government. He is one of over 120 dual nationals who have been stripped of their UK citizenship since 2016. International law prevents governments from making people ‘stateless,’ so countries can only use the measure on those with two passports. 

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The Mail on Sunday is reporting that the decision has caused outrage in Ottawa with a diplomatic source telling the paper that the Canadian government had “gone berserk” because Letts had “very little to do with Canada”.

A Whitehall source gave the rather terse response that “it’s Canada’s problem now.” The spat comes ahead of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau at the G7 summit in France next weekend.

‘Jihadi Jack’ has spent the past two years in a Kurdish prison. Speaking to ITV News in February, he said he wanted to return to the UK and he missed the comforts of British life, including pasties and the TV show ‘Doctor Who.’

The decision in the Letts case comes in the wake of IS bride Shamima Begum being stripped of her British citizenship in February, after the 19-year-old turned up in a refugee camp in Syria.

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