ISIS Beatles challenge proposed extradition to U.S which could see them face death penalty
Two captured Britons accused of being members of the Islamic State cell nicknamed The Beatles have raised questions about attempts to have them tried in the United States.
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are said to have been members of the brutal four-man cell of IS executioners in Syria and Iraq responsible for killing a series of high-profile Western captives.
They were captured in January and could be sent to the US for trial after the UK dropped its usual demand for a guarantee that the death penalty would not be imposed.
Speaking to the BBC from a jail in Syria, Mr Elsheikh said a suggestion of the pair being stripped of their citizenship “has not been confirmed”.
He also questioned why the British government would want a British citizen to be tried in America.
Along with Mohammed Emwazi – the killer nicknamed Jihadi John – and Aine Davis, Mr Kotey and Mr Elsheikh are thought to have been part of a group named after the ’60s band because of their English accents.
Emwazi, who was killed in a US air strike in 2015, appeared in a number of videos in which captives, including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were killed.
Davis was convicted of being a member of a terrorist organisation and jailed for seven-and-a-half years at a court in Silivri, Turkey, in May 2017.
When asked about Emwazi, Mr Kotey told the broadcaster: “I took a position of not speaking of him at all in a negative way”, adding: “He was a friend of mine.”
Last month, the Home Office said it had agreed to a “short-term pause” of the mutual legal assistance (MLA) process with the US over Mr Kotey and Mr Elsheikh after a request from lawyers acting for one of the men.