Skip to content

Coquitlam college student turned ISIS wife brought back to Canada in ill health

Kimberly Polman, who has been held in a Syrian detention camp since 2019, is being flown to B.C. to stay with family. Her lawyer confirms she has not been charged with any crime.
Kimberly Polman, a former Coquitlam college student, is reportedly back in Canada after living in a Syrian detention camp for three years.

Kimberly Polman is back on Canadian soil after languishing in a Syrian detention camp for three years.

The 50-year-old woman is heading to Abbotsford, B.C., to be with family, according to her lawyer.

Lawrence Greenspon told the Tri-City News that Polman was arrested at the airport earlier today (Oct. 26) in Montreal, but no charges were laid.

Polman will be asked to post a peace bond of between $500 and $1,000 and agree to certain conditions, Greenspon said.

"She was arrested on a peace bond. She was not charged criminally," he explained. 

"She was then transported to B.C. and she already has or is about to be going to go before a justice of the peace and she is supposed to be released on a recognizance."

The links to the City of Coquitlam date back several years when Polman was a student at Douglas College.

Polman, who won a Soroptimist Women's Opportunity Award in 2011, later married an ISIS fighter online and turned herself in to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in 2019.

During her detention, Polman wrote repeatedly to authorities about the conditions in the Roj camp, and gained the backing of Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.

Peace bond sought for Kimberly Polman

She also went on a hunger strike to press her claim.

Greenspon confirmed Polman has health concerns, but he wouldn't go into specifics due to privacy.

"The strongest factor which led to her repatriation was her health," said Greenspon. "She’s not in good health at all. She’s in dire condition and it was really that which was the engine behind her being repatriated."

Greenspon said Polman will need "medical attention as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, Quebec RCMP have arrested another woman from Syria.

In a press release, the police organization states it arrested Oumaima Chouay at the Montréal–Trudeau International Airport also on Wednesday.

The individual had been the subject of an investigation by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) since November 2014, according to the statement posted online.

Polman met an ISIS member online

Polman had been working on a legal administration diploma while attending Douglas College; however, four years later, she met an ISIS member online and left Canada to be with him.

Polman grew up in a Mennonite family in Hamilton, Ont., and lived in Metro Vancouver.

In a 2019, an article by The Associated Press (AP) — excerpts of which were published in the Tri-City News — Polman, then 46, said she quickly became disillusioned with the militants and feared for her life.

“How could I have been so stupid, and so blind?” Polman told the AP.