On January 19, Parliament agreed to repatriate six Canadian women and 13 children held in Syrian prison camps for suspected association with the Islamic State of Iraq Syria (ISIS).
Two of those women were expected to appear before a Brampton court on April 11, but were left behind during an initial flight to Canada. Law enforcement arrested them both upon their return to Canada for transport to Alberta.
According to the RCMP, both women appeared for a bail hearing in Edmonton while the Mounties sought a terrorism peace bond under the Criminal Code.
"The individuals were released from custody and are subject to a number of bail conditions pending the hearing of this application," the RCMP wrote in a statement published Friday.
A terrorism peace bond permits a court-ordered arrangement for the defendants, likely with conditions such as a monitoring bracelet, curfew and internet access limitations.
"Even though they were arrested, it doesn't mean they have been charged criminally — and they have not been charged criminally," said Lawrence Greenspon, counsel to the repatriated women and children.
"We have provisions in the Criminal Code to charge people who have left Canada to support terrorism — and this is not that," he said about the bond conditions.
As of writing, neither woman has been charged with a crime. However, a criminal investigation by the Mounties remains ongoing.
There also remains the possibility of a prison sentence if the bond conditions are not followed.
Family members pleaded for years with the federal government to arrange their return. They claimed that refusing to repatriate Canadian citizens violates their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Ultimately, Parliament struck a deal to return six adult women and 13 children, issuing emergency travel documents for each person from the al-Roj prison camp in northeastern Syria.
Al-Roj is one of two displaced persons camps in the region now controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. They have asked more than 60 countries to repatriate about 10,000 foreign nationals imprisoned in Syria and Iraq for suspected ties to ISIS.
At least seven countries have repatriated people, including 659 from Iraq and 58 from France. Seventeen Australian nationals, 12 Germans, 40 Dutch, 38 Russians and two British citizens have also returned home.
"Canada extends its gratitude to the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria for its cooperation in conducting another operation under difficult security circumstances," said Global Affairs Canada in a statement published Thursday.
"We also thank the United States for its assistance in the repatriation of Canadians and for continuing to play a key role in resolving the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region."
However, the federal government continues to refuse the repatriation of four Canadian men associated with the women, who are also accused of fostering ties to ISIS.
Ottawa appealed a Federal Court ruling that ordered the government to return the men — who have yet to face charges in court at a fair trial.
Federal Court Justice Henry Brown ruled the four men had a right to return to Canada under s.6(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states, "every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada."
Brown also claimed poor prison conditions for the men, the absence of charges, and a trial permitting their repatriation.
"The conditions of the...men are even direr than those of the women and children Canada has just agreed to repatriate," reads the ruling.
However, the feds successfully appealed Brown's decision in May when the Federal Court of Appeal sided with the government. Greenspon anticipates an appeal of that ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.
In January, several Yazidi-Canadians accused the terrorist group of bringing them "trauma, worry and fear" after destroying their ancient community in northern Iraq.
"When I first heard the news, I felt the strength leave my body," said Huda Ilyas Alhamad from her Winnipeg apartment. She is among 1,200 survivors of the Yazidi genocide who resettled in Canada and one of many who spent years as an ISIS slave.
"They're offering that same entryway for these people who raped and tortured us daily."
The Yazidis belong to an ancient Kurdish-speaking agricultural community in northern Iraq, who became victims of a brutal Islamic fundamentalist campaign set out to eradicate their people. The terrorist group murdered thousands of older boys and men in cold blood, separated young women and girls for sale to ISIS members, and raped them as enslaved people.
Jamileh Naso, president of the Canadian Yazidi Association, said the ISIS repatriation order has left Yazidi families "heartbroken and betrayed."
"Many of them just broke into tears because they thought this news was completely unbelievable. It can't be true," he said.