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Jewish sect blocked at Piarco

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Nine members of Lev Tahor, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect from Quebec in Canada, who were detained on Monday at Piarco Airport were expected to be deported back to Canada. Last November the members fled to a town near Windsor, Ontario, Montreal’s CBC news reported. The report said two families were scheduled to appear in a Chatham-Kent, Ontario court yesterday to learn the results of their appeal of an earlier court judgment that 14 children from the sect must be returned to Quebec and placed in foster care. 



Last month, an Ontario judge upheld a Quebec ruling ordering the children in the Lev Tahor sect to be surrendered to child welfare authorities. After being denied an appeal by a Quebec court, the group requested an appeal to an Ontario court. 



This came after the Quebec and Ontario provincial police forces raided the Lev Tahor homes in Chatham, it was reported. Quebec’s Youth Protection Services alleged that the children living in the sect were medicated with melatonin to control their behaviour, could not do basic maths and were married off as young as 14. A report in the Toronto Sun said the group—three adults and six children—were intercepted and detained in T&T while trying to catch a flight to Mexico.


An immigration official was quoted as saying the group ended up in T&T because they had missed their connecting flight. The official said it was by coincidence they were detained, because local immigration authorities were unaware of what was going on in Canada. In a press release issued from the National Security Ministry last night it said the group came to T&T via a West Jet flight and was interviewed by immigration authorities who discovered inconsistencies in their responses.


They were then told by immigration officers that they could not to travel on to Guatemala. “The group subsequently employed the services of a local attorney, Mr Farah Masai, who began advocating their concerns with the airline and immigration authorities. “All measures of attempts to accommodate the group at a hotel of their choice and to also ensure that they were properly attended to were refused by the religious group,” the release added.