Islamic State Beatles can stand trial in the US as suspect’s mum loses the High Court battle
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
The mother of a suspected ISIS terrorist has lost a High Court challenge meaning he can stand trial in the US.
Maha Elgizouli, whose son El Shafee Elsheikh is in US custody with his co-accused Alexanda Kotey, brought a judicial review earlier this month over Pritti Patel’s decision to provide material to the American government.
Elsheikh and co-accused Alexanda Kotey are accused of belonging to a cell of executioners in Syria – nicknamed The Beatles because of their British accents – responsible for killing a number of Western captives.
They are said to have been members of the cell that also included Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, who was killed in a US air strike in 2015, and Aine Davis, who has been jailed in Turkey.
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.
At a hearing in London on September 11, Ms Elgizouli’s lawyers argued the Home Secretary Ms Patel’s decision to share the evidence was unlawful as it was incompatible with the Data Protection Act (DPA).
They urged the court to order that no material should be provided to the US.
They said evidence transfer was “not strictly necessary” as it was made at a time when the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was due to make a decision “imminently” about whether there was enough evidence to prosecute Elsheikh in the UK – which US authorities previously indicated a preference for.
But in a ruling on Tuesday, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham rejected the case, saying it was “not properly arguable”.
She added: “The conclusion that, even if Mr Elsheikh could be prosecuted in England, it would still be necessary and proportionate to transfer the data to the US authorities remained a conclusion properly open to the Secretary of State.”
The hearing was held as a matter of urgency after the US Government outlined plans to fly the pair to Iraq for trial if it does not receive all the evidence the UK has on them by October 15.
If they are found guilty in Iraq they will be executed.
As a result of the ruling, the evidence requested can now be handed over to the US authorities by the UK Government.
Dame Victoria said in the ruling that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has concluded there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Elsheikh for a number of “terrorism-related offences”.
She added that either the consent of the Attorney General, Suella Braverman, or her permission for the DPP was required to consent to a prosecution.
Elsheikh and Kotey, who were raised in the UK but have been stripped of their British citizenship, were captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces in January 2018.
This 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 the custody of the US military in Iraq in October 2019 and remain in American custody.
American officials revealed last month, in a letter to Ms Patel from US attorney general William Barr, that they will not insist on the death penalty for the pair following any prosecution.
Ms Elgizouli previously brought a challenge to former home secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to share evidence with US authorities without seeking assurances the men would not be executed if convicted in the US.
Her case was dismissed by the High Court in January 2019 but that decision was overturned in March this year by a panel of seven Supreme Court justices, who unanimously allowed her appeal – ruling the decision to share evidence with the US was unlawful under the Data Protection Act.