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Updated: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 16:23:59 GMT | By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca

Lev Tahor members back in Canada



Lev Tahor member Avraham Dinkle outside Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Saturday evening. CBC

Lev Tahor member Avraham Dinkle outside Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Saturday evening. CBC

Nine members of the the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect Lev Tahor who left the country amid child custody proceedings have now been returned to Canada.

Peel Regional Police Sgt. Dave Housdon said the Lev Tahor members landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport Saturday night and six children were placed in the care of the Children's Aid Society.

Housdon said three adults were processed by the Canada Border Services Agency and released.

Early last week, an Ontario judge issued an emergency order that 13 Lev Tahor children be placed in the care of children's aid, but police said Thursday that most of the children had left the country.

The nine Lev Tahor members returned yesterday were stopped en route to Guatemala in Trinidad and Tobago.

Another group is believed to have made it to Guatemala via Mexico. There is no word on whether they will face extradition to Canada.

Quebec's child protection agency welcomed the return of the six children by authorities in Trinidad and Tobago, but expressed concern for those believed to be in Guatemala and those still with the Lev Tahor community.

"We are following the evolution of the situation and pursuing our collaboration with child protection services in Ontario and other authorities," Denis Baraby, director of the agency's Laurentian branch, said via news release on Sunday.

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

Late last year, a Quebec court ordered that 13 Lev Tahor children be placed in foster care.

About 200 members of the sect — 114 of them children — settled in Chatham, Ont., last year after suddenly uprooting from Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec.

The group has denied all allegations of mistreatment.

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