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Lev Tahor members back in Canada

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

NINE members of “an orthodox Hasidic Jewish group” from Canada, known as Lev Tahor, who were denied travel to Guatemala when they entered Trinidad last Monday, have returned to Canada, with the six children being taken into custody and the adults being investigated for wrongdoing.
The nine Lev Tahor members—three adults and six children—left Canada amid child custody proceedings in that country.
According to a report from the Globe and Mail, Peel Police Sgt Dave Housdon said the Lev Tahor members landed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport Saturday at 10.30 p.m. and the six children were placed in the care of the Children’s Aid Society.
Housdon said the three adults were being processed by the Canada Border Services Agency, according to the Globe and Mail.
Last Monday, around 5 a.m., nine members of Lev Tahor arrived in Trinidad on board a WestJet flight.
The group was in transit to Guatemala, through Trinidad and Tobago, from Toronto, Canada, when they arrived at Piarco International Airport.
When Immigration officials interviewed the group, “inconsistencies in their responses” were discovered.
The group was rejected and advised of their inability to travel to Guatemala.
They refused to return to Canada.
Local attorney Farai Hove Masaisai, who specialises in immigration cases, was contacted on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Masaisai filed an application for habeas corpus.
Justice Vashiest Kokaram heard the application on an “emergency basis” on Thursday and dismissed the application.
On Friday, Masaisai lodged an appeal of the Immigration rejection order against Lev Tahor.
On Saturday, local law enforcement officials handed over the Lev Tahor members to Canadian law enforcement and immigration officials at Piarco International Airport for their return to Canada.
Some members of the group did not go quietly,
Shortly after 5 p.m. on Saturday, they were escorted on to a small chartered aircraft by officials of the National Operations Centre (NOC) and the Port of Spain and Northern Division Task Force.
The Central Authority Unit had been liaising with its counterpart in Canada and was advised that the children were subject of a Child Protection Order in the province of Quebec in Canada.
“This order awarded custody of the children to the Department of Child Protection in Quebec. That decision was appealed and the Court of Appeal of Ontario (last Thursday) dismissed the appeal, thereby confirming the custody order,” a release from the office of the Attorney General stated last week.
“It would therefore appear that the adults fled to Trinidad whilst their appeal was pending,” that release stated.
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