Jack Letts

Jack converted to Islam at the age of 16. He became a devout Muslim and traveled to the Middle East at the age of 18 after seeing the atrocities that were being inflicted on other Muslims under the Assad regime. His motivation for going was humanitarian in nature – he felt his language skills in English and Arabic might prove useful. He wanted be the “best Muslim he could be”. While in Syria, Jack worked against ISIS – risking his life by decrying the terror group as “thugs” and “unIslamic”. His situation grew increasingly perilous and he attempted to flee ISIS-controlled territory. In doing so, he was captured by YPG forces. That was three years ago. Now:

Jack has been imprisoned in northern Syria since May 2017 in harsh conditions. When he was last able to communicate directly with his parents in July 2017 he was not allowed to leave his cell at all.
Jack has never been involved in violence and the British police have told his parents there is no evidence that he has done anything wrong.
Jack stood against ISIS while in Syria, and has publicly said he ‘hates them more than the Americans hate them.’ He was imprisoned by ISIS several times, and lived in hiding from them for two years.
Jack says he’s never had a gun in his life, and has never been a fighter.
No ‘secret intelligence information’ exists to link Jack to terrorism in any way.
Jack was a dual British/Canadian citizen, however both countries have thrown their hands up in the air, saying ‘he’s not our problem.’.
The initial story of ‘Jihadi Jack’ was invented by the Sunday Times journalist and Islamophobe, Richard Kerbaj, who lied about Jack joining ISIS. Jack’s parents challenge Kerbaj to produce the tape or his source for this lie, which has libeled his parents and threatened Jack’s life.
Jack’s parents are desperate to bring Jack back home and out of harm’s way, but their appeals to British justice, morality, international law, reason, humanitarian law, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ have fallen on deaf ears.
By sending money to help Jack get out of Syria, Jack’s parents themselves were charged with ‘supporting terrorism’, even though the police gave them permission to send the funds. (It is important to note, that they were found NOT GUILTY of two charges of supporting terrorism. They were only found guilty of one charge for sending £223 to a contact of Jack’s in Lebanon because they ‘should have had reasonable cause to suspect that it might fall into the wrong hands’.)

Jack was told in May 2017 that the Kurdish authorities wanted to hand him over to the British. However, the British government told Jack’s parents that they cannot help secure Jack’s release as they do not have any consular access in northern Syria.

The government believes public opinion is led by a media that promotes the idea that everyone who goes to Syria is a ‘terrorist’, and believes it has the support of the public in keeping Jack in detention, but hundreds of messages from friends, teachers, and political and religious leaders say otherwise. If you agree that Jack’s unlawful detention and his abandonment by the governments of the countries of his citizenship is a travesty of justice, please stand with the Letts family and add your signature to this open letter:

Jack needs to be taken somewhere safe where he can recover from the mistreatment he seems to have suffered in Rajava and possibly/probably in Syria. He does need to explain how he came to be in Syria and what he did while he was there but statements he has made to the media indicate the he was not involved with IS and not a fighter or even much of a supporter. If he went to Syria out of misplaced curiosity or to seek some sort of truth or he was somehow seduced into believing IS was some form of purified Islamic faith system then he needs the opportunity to say so and make his case. He and his parents need and deserve the support of the British state in obtaining his release. Thereafter he needs to be allowed to make his case. His family have suffered greatly and unjustly. Regardless of what the FCO thinks it might know about Jack no-one should suffer cruel and inhumane treatment. The UK has been at the forefront of promoting human rights and no matter how complex the case now is not the time to backtrack on the protection that human rights law provides to everyone. I look forward to hearing news of his release into UK custody long before this petition forces a debate in Parliament

Mike P. – United Kingdom

I know Jack Letts’ father. I feel for him and for his wife. In the absence of clear evidence that Jack Letts has been involved in terrorism I think it is important that there should be a proper legal process to evaluate the nature of his activities in the Middle East. That can’t happen in his present circumstances. Particularly in light of the current lack of clarity over his activities, while recognising the political sensitivity of the situation, it does not seem right that he should be left in the situation described here. At present seems to be subject to an arbitrary detention which is in breach of the rule of law and the norms of international law.

Iain M. – United Kingdom