Justice minister to review case of Quebec woman facing extradition

The woman, a Canadian citizen referred to in court documents as M, had said she would not eat until Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould reviewed her case.

Woman wanted in the U.S., accused of bringing her 3 children to Canada against custody order

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced Wednesday she would reconsider the case of a Quebec woman facing extradition. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The federal government has announced it will reconsider the case of a Quebec woman in jail facing extradition to the U.S.

The woman, a Canadian citizen referred to in court documents as M, had said she would not eat until Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould reviewed her case.

"In making this decision, I want to assure all parties that I do not take our obligations lightly, and I will be guided by those obligations, and by the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in this case," Wilson-Raybould said in a statement on Wednesday.

Wilson-Raybould added that it was "a complex case" and she would be guided by the "thoughtful analysis" of Canada's top court.

A spokesman for Women Who Choose to Live, a justice group that has been supporting M, said they have spoken to her and she will start eating again. 

"She was absolutely thrilled. She was feeling quite buoyed by the support of people across Canada and she started to eat today for the first time after 12 full days of not taking any solid food," said Matthew Beherns.

M is currently in a detention centre, but her lawyer, Marie-Helene Giroux, said she hopes M will be reunited with her three children in time for Christmas.

Giroux said Wednesday she's hopeful the minister will consider the "best interests of the children" in the case and prohibit her extradition.

"Now we have to convince the minister to vacate the surrender order, so we still have some battles," she said.

On Dec. 11, the Supreme Court majority ruled that extraditing M was "not unreasonable," but the three dissenting judges argued the best interests of the children had not been properly considered.

Wilson-Raybould's decision Wednesday now puts the Supreme Court's ruling on hold.

The woman is wanted in the state of Georgia and is accused of bringing her three children to Canada in 2010 despite the fact that their father had sole custody.

A Quebec court later granted M full custody of her children, but she worries they could be put in foster care if she is extradited.

The children, aged 14, 10 and nine when they were brought to Canada, told Quebec child protection officials they ran away because their father was abusive.