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Islamic State 'beatles' Duo: Uk 'will Not Block Death Penalty
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The UK will not block the death penalty in the case of two men accused of being Islamic State members, the home secretary has said.

In a letter leaked to the Telegraph, Sajid Javid tells the US attorney general that the UK will seek no assurances that Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh will not be executed.

The duo, from west London, were captured in Syria in January.
The BBC's Frank Gardner said he had confirmation of the UK's stance.

Our security correspondent added that the UK still had a "long-standing opposition" to the controversial US military prison Guantanamo Bay and still wants it closed.

He said if the pair - who are accused of being the last two members of an IS foursome dubbed "The Beatles" - are sent to Guantanamo Bay, the UK will not share intelligence for the trial. But if they go to a civil trial, the UK will.

Earlier this year, in an interview with Associated Press from northern Syria, the duo complained that they would not get a fair trial because the UK government had stripped them of their British citizenship

In the letter dated 22 June 2018 and addressed to Jeff Sessions, Mr Javid wrote that the UK would not seek "assurances" over the death penalty in this particular case, but said it did not mark a change in UK policy.

"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," he said.

"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."

Who were the Islamic State group 'Beatles' cell?

Families of IS victims say 'Beatles' pair 'should face trial'

Where should the IS 'Beatles' be tried?
But the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile, described the letter as "extraordinary".

"We do not extradite people to countries where there is a death penalty unless there is an assurance the death penalty will not be carried out," he told the BBC.

"This a unilateral change of policy without any consultation and I would be amazed if this had been approved explicitly by the prime minister."

Shami Chakrabarti, Labour's shadow attorney general, said Mr Javid had "secretly and unilaterally abandoned Britain's opposition to the death penalty".

"Just as we should be persuading countries like the US and Iran to drop the death penalty, Sajid Javid appears to be encouraging this grave human rights abuse," she said.

Kotey and Elsheikh were members of the IS cell with two others from west London - Mohammed Emwazi, nicknamed "Jihadi John", and Aine Davis.

The group were radicalised in the UK before travelling to Syria, where they became infamous for their executions of Western hostages.

Emwazi, who was the alleged ringleader and appeared in videos showing hostages being beheaded, was killed by a drone strike in 2015.

Davis was convicted of being a senior IS member and was jailed in Turkey last year.

Kotey and Elsheikh were captured by members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in January

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