ontario news watch

Federal Court hears final arguments in case of Canadians detained in Syria

The Federal Court is hearing final arguments in a challenge from family members of 23 Canadians held in Syria who say Ottawa is violating Charter rights by not arranging for their return.

The detainees are among many foreign nationals in Syrian camps run by Kurdish forces in regions reclaimed in the war-torn region from the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. 

Lawyers sparred today over whether new evidence submitted by the applicants, including a letter from a United Nations special rapporteur, was relevant in determining whether Canada breached procedural fairness when deciding if the detainees should be repatriated.  

Justice Henry Brown ultimately decided a portion of the evidence could be submitted on the basis of relevance. but he gave the Crown one week to respond to the ruling.

Crown lawyers began closing arguments by saying the applicants are asking the court to make a ruling on procedural fairness with respect to a policy framework, rather than decisions in individual detainee cases.

They say federal legislators do not have a duty of procedural fairness when simply creating policy.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2022. 

The Canadian Press

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