America says it will NOT seek the death penalty against the two surviving British 'ISIS Beatles' - raising chances of them facing justice in US for killings

The United States has told Britain it will not insist on the death penalty for two alleged ISIS militants suspected of beheading Western hostages. 
In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, US Attorney General Bill Barr signalled that capital punishment could be dropped in a potential case against Alexana Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, members of the so-called 'Beatles' execution squad. 
An agreement to remove the death penalty from a successful prosecution could see the men, currently being held in military detention in Iraq, stand trial in the US. In return, the British government would provide evidence in the case. 

Mr Barr and his predecessor Jeff Sessions initially baulked at efforts to drop the death sentence. It is understood the U-turn has occurred after the Supreme Court in London blocked the 'unlawful' sharing of evidence with US authorities. 
In March, a panel of seven justices ruled that then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid's decision to share evidence was driven by 'political pressure from the US'.   
It is understood that US assurances to drop the death penalty in a potential case is seen as a welcome development by the Home Office. 
According to the Associated Press, Mr Barr said in his letter to Ms Patel: 'I know that the United Kingdom shares our determination that there should be a full investigation and a criminal prosecution of Kotey and Elsheikh.
Alexanda Amon Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh (right), who were allegedly among four British jihadis who made up a brutal Islamic State cell dubbed 'The Beatles'
Alexanda Amon Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh (right), who were allegedly among four British jihadis who made up a brutal Islamic State cell dubbed 'The Beatles'
In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, US Attorney General Bill Barr has signalled that capital punishment could be dropped against Alexana Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, members of the so-called 'Beatles' execution squad
In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, US Attorney General Bill Barr has signalled that capital punishment could be dropped against Alexana Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, members of the so-called 'Beatles' execution squad
In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, US Attorney General Bill Barr has signalled that capital punishment could be dropped against Alexana Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, members of the so-called 'Beatles' execution squad
'These men are alleged to be members of the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and to have been involved in kidnappings, murders, and other violent crimes against the citizens of our two countries, as well as the citizens of other countries.
'If we receive the requested evidence and attendant cooperation from the United Kingdom, we intend to proceed with a United States prosecution. Indeed, it is these unique circumstances that have led me to provide the assurance offered in this letter.' 
Elsheikh and Kotey, who were caught in January 2018, are accused of belonging to a brutal four-man cell of executioners in Syria, nicknamed The Beatles because of their British accents, responsible for killing 27 captives. 
Other members of the cell are said to include Mohammed Emwazi, the group's ringleader, also known as Jihadi John, who was killed in a US air strike in 2015, while Aine Davis is in jail in Turkey for terror offences.
Kotey and Elsheikh, who were raised in the UK but have been stripped of their British citizenship, were seized by the Syrian Democratic Forces in January 2018.
Their capture sparked an international row over whether they should be returned to the UK for trial or face justice in another jurisdiction. 
They were transferred to US custody last October as Turkey invaded Syria to attack Kurds who have battling ISIS alongside US forces. They are being held overseas.  
Emwazi appeared in a number of videos in which hostages, including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were killed.
US officials have not announced any charges against Elsheikh and Kotey, but have spoken publicly about their desire to see members of the group face justice.  
Mr Barr said  the British government had until October 15 to resolve any legal objections it may have and to provide US authorities with the evidence they seek. 
Otherwise, the men will be transferred to Iraqi custody for prosecution by Iraqi authorities, Barr wrote. 
He said the US would not provide to third countries that might impose the death penalty any evidence it has already received, or may received, from the UK.
The British government confirmed that it had received the letter, with the Home Office saying in a statement that its top priority has always been to protect national security and to deliver justice for families.
The decision is a significant development in years of wrangling over Kotey and Elsheikh. The US and British governments have an agreement to share documents, records and other evidence in criminal investigations. In 2015, the Justice Department asked for evidence that Britain had gathered on the 'Beatles,' saying it was doing its own investigation into Americans who were murdered in Syria.
British authorities had been willing to provide the US with evidence even without assurances that the men would not be executed if convicted.
In July 2018, after lawyers for Elsheikh demanded a review of the decision to allow the men to be put on trial in the US, Britain's Home Office temporarily suspended cooperation with US authorities.
Then, in March, the British Supreme Court held that it was unlawful for the United Kingdom to provide evidence to a foreign country that could be used in a death penalty prosecution. The court has not yet issued its final order, Barr said, and even after that there could be additional litigation to block transfer of the evidence.
Alexanda Amon Kotey (right) and El Shafee Elsheikh (left), who were allegedly among four British jihadis who made up a brutal Islamic State cell dubbed 'The Beatles'
Alexanda Amon Kotey (right) and El Shafee Elsheikh (left), who were allegedly among four British jihadis who made up a brutal Islamic State cell dubbed 'The Beatles'
Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, was killed in a missile strike in 2015
Aine Davis is in jail in Turkey for terror offences
Other members of the cell are said to include Mohammed Emwazi, the group's ringleader, also known as Jihadi John, who was killed in a US air strike in 2015, while Aine Davis is in jail in Turkey for terror offences, while Aine Davis is in jail in Turkey for terror offences
The IS militants known as the 'Beatles' held Western hostages in Syria and tortured many of them, and also beheaded a group of journalists and aid workers in gruesome videos that were released to the world as propaganda.
Emwazi was responsible for the beheading of James Foley, a 40-year-old freelance journalist who was killed in Syria after being kidnapped by militants. A video of that killing circulated online six years ago Wednesday.
His mother, Diane Foley, said in an interview that she was gratified by the Justice Department's action, which Barr had said would be coming soon in a conversation with her and other victims' families this month.
'I feel that both countries ideally should work together to hold these men accountable and give them a fair trial,' Foley said. 'If they are guilty, they need to be put away for the rest of their lives.'
She said the only way to stop acts of terrorism was to hold the perpetrators accountable. 'This would be a huge step, so I am just very, very hopeful and grateful to the attorney general' and the Justice Department, she said.
A Home Office spokesman said: 'The Government's priority has always been to protect national security and to deliver justice for the victims and their families.
'We continue to work closely with international partners to ensure that those who have committed crimes in the name of Daesh are brought to justice.  

Supreme Court judge in ISIS Beatles case blasts UK government for bowing to US pressure in 'unlawfully' sharing evidence against terrorist dubbed 'George' without getting assurances he'd be spared death penalty 

Giving the lead ruling, Lord Kerr said former Home Secretary Sajid Javid's decision to transfer their personal data was 'based on political expediency'. 
He said that Mr Javid's behaviour did not meet 'statutory criteria' and argued the transfer would be 'lawful if it is based on what is called an adequacy decision'. 
Mr Javid, then Home Secretary, was accused of making a 'secret and unilateral' change to Britain's stance by MPs and human rights lawyers. 
In June 2018, Mr Javid authorised the sharing of 600 witness statements gathered by the Metropolitan Police under a 'mutual legal assistance' agreement in a letter to then US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Mr Javid faced intense criticism after the letter to Mr Sessions was leaked, with MPs accusing him of breaching the UK's opposition to the death penalty.
According to the Supreme Court, civil servants wrote to then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in June 2018, a day after Mr Javid met with Mr Sessions.
They advised Mr Johnson to urge the Home Secretary to seek a full assurance. Their submission accepted, however, that sharing information without assurances provided the greatest chance of the US pursuing a federal prosecution. 
According to Lord Kerr's judgment, the submission said: 'A successful prosecution will serve as a deterrent to others and give the public confidence in our ability to see justice served. However, there are wider national security risks if the prosecution results in execution as this could be used by radicalisers in the UK.' 
Mr Javid wrote to Mr Johnson on June 11, 2018, indicating that 'significant attempts' had been made to obtain assurances, but that the time had arrived to accede to the request for information without seeking any assurance. 
He acknowledged that there was a serious risk that Elsheikh and Kotey would, if prosecuted and convicted, face execution as a direct result of UK assistance. 
Mr Johnson replied on June 20: 'On a balanced assessment of the key risks... I agree that as this is a unique and unprecedented case, it is in the UK's national security interests to accede to an MLA request for a criminal prosecution without death penalty assurances for Kotey and Elsheikh'.
America says it will NOT seek the death penalty against the two surviving British 'ISIS Beatles' - raising chances of them facing justice in US for killings America says it will NOT seek the death penalty against the two surviving British 'ISIS Beatles' - raising chances of them facing justice in US for killings Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 02:22 Rating: 5

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