06:44 GMT01 June 2020
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    Ministerial disquiet and questions over the adequacy of the UK justice system have been triggered by reports that the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has dropped objections to Daesh* terrorists facing the death penalty in the United States.

    Public officials, counter-terrorism experts and human rights organizations have rushed to voice their concerns over the alleged decision by Mr. Javid to abandon Britain's position on the death penalty in the case of Alexanda Kotey and Shafee El-Sheikh.

    They were members of Daesh, which is infamous for its cruelty, with the two being known as ‘The Beatles' because of their British accents. 

    Home Secretary Sajid Javid is reported to have told the US attorney general that the UK no longer requires assurances that they won't be executed if found guilty.

    "I am of the view that there are strong reasons for not requiring a death penalty assurance in this specific case, so no such assurances will be sought. I have instructed my officials to set out the terms of our assistance and to work with your officials to action the request. As you are aware, it is the long-held position of the UK to seek death penalty assurances, and our decision, in this case, does not reflect a change in our policy on assistance in US death penalty cases generally, nor the UK Government's stance on the global abolition of the death penalty," Mr. Javid wrote in a letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to the Daily Telegraph. 

    Islamic State Beatles Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh
    Islamic State "Beatles" Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh

    Mr. Javid supposedly said that he understands Sessions' "frustration on this subject," adding that the UK will be "introducing new legislation to improve the range of offences on the statute book going forward to deal with the scourge of foreign fighters."

    "Ensuring foreign fighters face justice raises a real challenge for all our jurisdictions, however in this instance, we believe that a successful federal prosecution in the US is more likely to be possible because of differences in your statute book and the restrictions on challenges to the route by which defendants appear in US courts. The US currently has additional charges for terrorism offences which are not available under UK criminal law, and those offences carry long sentences," the UK home secretary reportedly said. 

    According to another document, there would be no formal opposition from the UK to the two men being sent to Guantanamo Bay without trial. UK Prime Minister Theresa May's spokeswoman says that government policy is to oppose the death penalty, but wants to see the two British militants face criminal prosecution in the most appropriate jurisdiction, after reports that the minister will allow them to be sent to the US. 

    Capital punishment was abolished in the UK in 1965 with the passing of the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act.

    Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh were stripped of their UK citizenship, as they were accused of torturing and murdering more than 25 foreign hostages that were held by Daesh. The group's leader — London-raised Mohammed Emwazi — was killed in an airstrike in 2015. The fourth member, London-born Aine Davis, was sentenced by a Turkish court to 7,5 years in prison in 2017.

    Daesh (aka ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia


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    death penalty, Daesh, Sajid Javid, United States, United Kingdom
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