by WorldTribune Staff, July 30, 2018
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is not only set to strike down the UK’s decision to waive the “no death penalty” assurance for two British-born members of the Islamic State (ISIS). It may also order the UK to pay damages to the alleged members of the terror cell known as the “Beatles”, a report said.
Last week, a leaked letter from British Home Secretary Sajid Javid to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed that the British government was willing to cooperate with American authorities in the prosecution of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee El-Sheikh. Javid said the UK would not demand the U.S. take the death penalty off the table, as it customarily would, Breitbart News reported.
Kotey and El-Sheikh are alleged members of a four-man ISIS terror cell of British nationals who are believed to have carried out the high-profile beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines, and American aid worker Peter Kassig.
Kotey and El-Sheikh were captured in January and later stripped of their British citizenship. They are currently being held by U.S.-backed forces in Syria.
Mohammed Emwazi, who became known as “Jihadi John”, was killed in a drone strike, while the remaining “Beatle”, Aine Davis, is imprisoned in Turkey.
Legal experts told The Telegraph that even if British justices say Britain is entitled to allow Kotey and El-Sheikh be tried in the U.S., the decision is almost certain to be struck down by the ECHR.
“The Home Secretary’s decision in this case is in the clearest possible breach of the European Convention on Human Rights,” Ben Emmerson, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, who currently sits as a judge for the UN International Criminal Tribunals, told The Telegraph.
The Convention has a protocol that abolishes the death penalty in all circumstances and an article guaranteeing the right to life.
Article 3 of the Convention, which forbids “inhuman and degrading treatment” has been used in the past to fight extraditions from Britain to the U.S. if a prisoner would face the death penalty. The Convention is given force in British law in the Human Rights Act of 1998.
“The Home Secretary’s decision in this case is subject to a general provision of that statute that makes it unlawful for a minister to take a decision that is incompatible with the Convention rights,” said Emmerson.
On July 26, it was revealed that Britain has been forced to pause intelligence-sharing with the U.S. regarding the two remaining members of the so-called “Beatles” after El-Sheikh’s mother launched legal action against the UK’s Home Office, the Breitbart report said.
Gareth Peirce, the human rights lawyer representing El-Sheikh’s mother, said Javid’s decision not to seek extradition to Britain for the terror suspects is illegal.
Breitbart noted that Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General Shami Chakrabarti accused Javid of “playing with the lives of these particular terrorists” and likened the U.S. – a Western democracy rooted in English common law – to Iran, an Islamic theocracy which executes its citizens for such “crimes” as apostasy and homosexuality.
Great Britain in the 1960s suspended capital punishment for most crimes.