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‘IS Beatles’: Mother loses high court challenge over evidence

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Media captionInterview with so-called ‘IS Beatles’ duo

A mother has lost a legal challenge against the UK’s sharing of evidence with the US on two suspected Islamic State fighters without seeking assurances they would not be executed.

Maha Elgizouli’s son, El Shafee Elsheikh, and Alexanda Kotey are accused of belonging to an IS cell believed to have beheaded hostages.

The two men, being held in northern Syria, may face prosecution in the US.

The court ruled the UK has no legal duty to protect the men in this case.

Britain shared 600 witness statements gathered by the Metropolitan Police with the US under a process called “mutual legal assistance” (MLA).

Maha Elgizouli challenged the government’s decision.

She argued that, due to the UK’s stance on the death penalty, the government should have ensured the men would not face execution if they were extradited and tried in the US.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said: “There is no general, common law duty on Her Majesty’s government to take positive steps to protect an individual’s life from the actions of a third party and that includes requiring particular undertakings before complying with the MLA request.”

El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey were raised in the UK, but no longer have British citizenship.

The group, who are being held by Syrian-Kurdish forces, are accused of being a part of a terrorist cell known as “The Beatles” because of their British accents.

The cell created brutal propaganda videos, and are said to have tortured dozens of people.

The other two members of the group – also from London – were Mohammed Emwazi, nicknamed “Jihadi John”, and Aine Davis.

All four were radicalised in the UK before travelling to Syria.

In the past, Britain has sought assurances from foreign governments that the death penalty would not be used in cases where the UK provided information or extradited suspects.

In this case, intelligence was shared with the US but no such assurances were sought.

However, information sharing was halted last month after Mr Elsheikh’s mother launched a legal challenge.


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