‘I don’t care, I wasn’t a British citizen anyway’: Jihadi Jack shrugs off moves to strip him of his UK passport as he admits he has ‘given up hope’ of ever seeing his parents again
- Jack Letts, 24, fled his middle class life in Oxfordshire to fight in Syria in 2014
- He's been begging to return after being captured and jailed by Kurdish forces
- But claims he 'never felt British anyway' after his passport was stripped from him
- Letts parents have slammed 'cowardly' decision to take away his UK citizenship
Muslium convert Jihadi Jack has claimed he 'never felt British anyway' after being stripped of his UK citizenship for joining ISIS.
Jack Letts, 24, fled his middle class life in Oxfordshire to fight in Syria in 2014 but has been begging to return home since being captured by Kurdish forces and jailed in 2017.
It emerged on Sunday that one of Sajid Javid's last acts as Home Secretary was to deprive Letts of his passport.
Speaking to ITV News from jail, Letts said he has accepted that he'll never see his parents and but was 'not surprised' by the UK Government's decision to take away his passport.
He said: 'I'm not surprised, I was expecting something like this to be honest. I've been here for two-and-a-half years and the British Government has not helped me at all.
'Even if they didn't strip me of my citizenship, it's like I'm not a British citizen anyway.
Speaking to ITV News from his cell in Syria, Jihadi Jack claimed he 'never felt British anyway' after being stripped of his British passport
'I've always felt that I am Canadian, my dad is Canadian, and I never grew up being accepted as a British person anyway,' he said
Jack Letts poses in Syria in a photo shared on his Facebook after fleeing his middle class life in Oxfordshire
'I don't think where you are from is based on a piece of paper. These things have very little meaning to me to be honest. I don't think British citizenship is a big deal.'
'I've always felt that I am Canadian, my dad is Canadian, and I never grew up being accepted as a British person anyway.'
Letts, who holds dual UK-Canadian nationality, said he hoped Canada would take him in, but accepted that he could well be jailed if he were ever to get there.
But he added: 'If I'm really a Canadian citizen, why haven't they taken me by now? In the same way Britain hasn't helped me for two-and-a-half years, Canada has done nothing. I always thought Canada was a better country, I had this illusion.'
When asked if he had anything to say to Boris Johnson, Letts said: 'I think Boris Johnson is ridiculous, to be honest, I think most of the British population do. It's amazing he actually became Prime Minister.'
Earlier today, Letts' parents slammed the government for stripping their son of British citizenship and claimed that he had been tortured by captors.
John Letts told Good Morning Britain that his son suffers from extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that caused a fixation with Islam.
Mr Letts said the government was in denial for failing to bring Jack home as he alleged that Kurdish forces had tortured him and accused Britain of passing the buck to his native Canada.
Sally Lane and John Letts (pictured), who is Canadian, sent £223 to their son while he was in Syria despite learning he had joined IS. They were convicted of funding terrorism
Letts is among more than 120 dual nationals who have been stripped of their British citizenship since 2016. Pictured: Letts with his father John
A Whitehall source is understood to have said that Letts is 'Canada's problem now'. Pictured: Letts in a family picture released this year
‘The British government is shirking its responsibility its passing on a problem that they should be dealing with,’ he said.
He added: ‘The victims of Isis crime deserve some justice here we are shirking our responsibility and passing it on to the Canadians.'
Mr Letts believes his son had 'humanitarian reasons for going to the Middle East' and said: ‘He did not go to Syria to join ISIS.'
He and his wife Sally Lane were found guilty of funding terrorism in June after they sent him £223 while he was in Syria despite concerns he was involved in terror.
But they avoided jail after being sentenced to 15 months, suspended for 12 months.
Today, Mr Letts that if his son has worked with terrorists in the region then he should be arrested and punished, adding: 'I’m not soft on terror.'
Since his son's British citizenship has been revoked, a source said that the Canadian government retorted that Jack had 'very little to do with Canada'.
Speaking to Richard Bacon and Ranvir Singh today, Mr Letts said that his son converted to Islam during a mental health crisis.
He said that OCD crippled his son's ability to focus so badly that the 'top student' couldn't even read properly.
Mr Letts raised concerns that his son was tortured and is demanding that the British government bring him back
Mr Letts (pictured on Good Morning Britain today) says that his son suffers from mental health issues which contributed to his decision to join ISIS
But he found peace in religion and mastered Arabic within about six months, also memorising the Koran.
Mr Letts said that with this new religious zeal came fears of failing to observe the faith correctly.
‘He was convinced that if he didn’t perform the rituals of Islam properly that he would it would be that sense of doom so he would take an hour to wash,' he said. ‘It became really dominant.'
Letts' mother Sally Lane, said yesterday that the British Government was 'shirking responsibility' by revoking their son's citizenship.
Mr Letts, 58, told Channel 4 News: 'I thought British citizens had certain rights. I thought we had the right to innocent until proven guilty, the right of a trial, the right of free speech.'
Ms Lane, 57, said: 'It was a real shock that your Government can do this to you without any form of redress or discussion or way of actually contacting Jack, given that he's being held incommunicado and has no access to a lawyer.
'Jack and other people are now in a legal black hole.'
The decision to tear up Letts' passport sparked a diplomatic row between Whiehall and Ottawa.
Letts is among more than 120 dual nationals who have been stripped of their British citizenship since 2016. International law prevents the Government from making people ‘stateless’ so the move can only be taken against those with two passports.
After converting to Islam at 16, Letts travelled to the Middle East in 2014, where he married an Iraqi woman. He was captured and jailed in 2017 by forces fighting IS.
Three quarters of Britons support Jihadi Jack being stripped of British citizenship
A poll from YouGov found 73 per cent of Britons supported the Home Office's decision to revoke Jack Letts' passport.
Eleven per cent of those surveyed said they opposed the decision, while 16 per cent said they didn't know.
The survey, which looked at 3328 people, found that 90 per cent of Tory voters agreed with the Home Office's decision, 63 per cent of Labour voters supported the move and 62 per cent of Lib Dem voters wanted Letts stripped .
It also found that Leave voters were more likely to agree with the decision (90 per cent) as opposed to Remain voters (63 per cent).
Those who supported revoking the terrorist's passport were also likely to be older, the survey found.
Around 84 per cent of over-65s agreed with the decision and, similarly, 81 per cent of those aged 50-65 were also on board with the move.
Around 70 per cent of 25 to 49-year-olds supported the decision, while just less than half (49 per cent) of those aged 18 to 24 agreed.
The region which least supported the decision to tear up the 24-year-old's passport was London, with 63 per cent.
The rest of the country was more in favour of the move - around 77 per cent of people from the Midlands and Wales agreed and 72 per cent of Scots supported the decision.
About 74 per cent of southerners were on board and 75 per cent of those from northern England agreed with the Home Office.