Javid ‘does not back death penalty’ amid ter­ror row

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS -

Home Sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid has in­sisted he does not sup­port the death penalty de­spite waiv­ing de­mands for as­sur­ances over the fate of two Is­lamic State ter­ror sus­pects fac­ing pos­si­ble ex­tra­di­tion to the US.

Mr Javid faced in­tense crit­i­cism af­ter agree­ing to share in­tel­li­gence with the US with­out seek­ing guar­an­tees Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee El­sheikh would not face ex­e­cu­tion if they were ex­tra­dited.

Mr Javid agreed to a “short-term pause” of the mu­tual le­gal as­sis­tance process with the US af­ter a re­quest from lawyers act­ing for one of the men, who are be­ing held in Syria.

He said: “Per­son­ally I don’t sup­port the death penalty but on this par­tic­u­lar case it’s in ev­ery­one’s in­ter­ests that those in­di­vid­u­als are brought to jus­tice in the most ap­pro­pri­ate ju­ris­dic­tion.”

Kotey and El­sheikh are said to have been mem­bers of a bru­tal four-man cell of IS ex­e­cu­tion­ers in Syria and Iraq, re­spon­si­ble for killing west­ern cap­tives, in­clud­ing Bri­tish aid work­ers David Haines and Alan Hen­ning and US jour­nal­ists James Fo­ley and Steven Sot­loff.

Nick­named af­ter the Bea­tles be­cause of their Bri­tish ac­cents, the cell is also be­lieved to have in­cluded Mo­hammed Emwazi – known as “Ji­hadi John” – who was killed in a US air strike in 2015, and Aine Davis, who has been jailed in Turkey.

Kotey and El­sheikh, who are un­der­stood to have been stripped of their Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship, were cap­tured in Jan­uary, spark­ing a row over whether they should be re­turned to the UK for trial or face jus­tice in an­other ju­ris­dic­tion.

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