Skip to main content

Members of the Lev Tahor ultra-orthodox Jewish sect walk down a street while an emergency motion in the child custody case is held at the courthouse in Chatham, Ont., March 5, 2014.

Dave Chidley/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Nine members of a fringe Jewish sect have filed an appeal against a decision by authorities in Trinidad and Tobago to deny them entry, the country's attorney-general said Friday.

The latest challenge will likely delay any attempt to return the members of Lev Tahor to Canada, where a court has ordered the children placed in the care of children's aid.

In an interview from Port-of-Spain, Attorney-General Anand Ramlogan said the appeal was filed Friday with the chief immigration officer.

Story continues below advertisement

"We are now in the process of dealing with that appeal," Mr. Ramlogan told The Canadian Press.

"In the meantime, we anxiously await the position of the Canadian authorities."

Canadian justice authorities, however, have refused to discuss what steps they might be taking to get the group returned.

Given the pending weekend, it was unlikely the appeal would be held before next week at the earliest.

On Thursday, a court in Port-of-Spain dismissed an emergency challenge by the group against the decision by immigration authorities to deny them entry.

At least two Lev Tahor families left Canada for Guatemala this week, only to be stopped in Trinidad.

Early this week, an Ontario judge issued an emergency order that 14 Lev Tahor children be placed in the care of children's aid, but police said all but two had left the country, some apparently via Mexico.

Story continues below advertisement

Sect members came to Canada in 2005 after their spiritual leader, Rabbi Shlomo Elbarnes, was granted refugee status here.

Child-welfare authorities in Quebec spent a year investigating issues related hygiene, health and allegations that the children weren't learning according to the provincial curriculum.

The group has denied all allegations of mistreatment.

Late last year, a Quebec court ordered that 14 Lev Tahor children be placed in foster care.

About 200 members — 114 of them children — left Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., in the middle of the night, and moved to Chatham, Ont.

Last month, a judge found the move to Ontario was made to avoid the custody proceeding there and he ordered the children be turned over to child protection authorities in Quebec.

Story continues below advertisement

Officially, the group in Trinidad is under the care of WestJet, which flew them there. WestJet is required to return them to Canada and will have to cover their costs in the interim.

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.