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Monday, March 17, 2014 

Guatemala preparing to move Lev Tahor children back to Canada

The other 6 children from Lev Tahor, who, similar to the ones in Trinidad-Tobago, were accompanied by 3 adults (it's not clear at this point if they're parents or legal custodians either) have been located in Guatemala, and so far, it looks like the country is cooperating:
CBC’s the fifth estate has learned that Guatemalan officials are preparing to seize child members of the Lev Tahor sect who fled Canada almost two weeks ago.

Police investigators went Friday to the hotel where nine members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect are staying.

The three adults and six children were questioned at their hotel in the tourist town of Panajachel, a few hours west of Guatemala City.

Police then escorted the group out of the hotel to appear before a judge, who will determine if the children should be removed from their families and taken to a shelter.
However, it's still possible the cult could make it legally difficult to return the children to Canada:
There are, however, several ways Lev Tahor could stall an effort to swiftly return the children to Canadian soil, an effort that resumes Monday when a judge specializing in family and child law is scheduled to hear the case in the Guatemalan town of Solola.

The sect members could file for refugee status — something an official in the ministry of foreign affairs in Guatemala told the Star has already occurred, but that the country’s ministry of immigration would not confirm or discuss.

They could also try to convince the Guatemalan judge that returning the children to Canada would pose a “grave risk of harm” to them, something Nicholas Bala, a Queen’s University law professor who specializes in children’s law, speculates the family is likely to do if they are aiming to slow procedures.

Bala said proceedings could also be stalled by the simple fact that child welfare organizations are not accustomed to working with internationally. Cooperation across borders has been established to deal “reasonably well” with criminals or terrorists fleeing to one country to escape the laws of another, Bala said, but that is not the case here.

“And so we see a lack of coordination,” he said. “Challenging as it is, we need better coordination, especially with these kinds of cases.”
They've got some good points. They could also use the stalling time to flee again, assuming the authorities in Guatemala don't confiscate their passports any more than the Canadian authorities did. The money they accumulated could also help cause problems.

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