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Crowdfunding campaign launched to challenge government over decision to drop death penalty assurances for ISIS Beatles

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This could get interesting

Image credit: YouTube (The Telegraph)

A national charity has launched a crowdfunding campaign to challenge the Home Secretary’s decision not to seek assurances from the US that two British ISIS fighters accused of murder won’t face the death penalty.

Sajid Javid has been accused of breaking with the UK’s decades-long policy of opposition to capital punishment in the case of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, two Brits who are suspected members of the ISIS Beatles cell. In a letter leaked to the media, it was revealed that Javid reached an agreement to supply intelligence to help prosecute the men — without getting the customary pledges from the US government that it won’t execute them if they are found guilty.

Yesterday afternoon the Howard League for Penal Reform went live with an online financial appeal to fund its campaign to force Javid to reverse his decision in the courts. In less than 24 hours almost £2,000 of the £20,000 target has been raised.

The page slams Javid’s actions, stating:

“The Home Secretary has taken a unilateral decision not to seek assurances that capital punishment will not be carried out. This decision was unprincipled, unlawful and outside of his powers.”

The launch of the crowdfunding campaign follows Tuesday’s announcement by the Howard League that it had taken advice and found that legal action against the UK government on this matter was “feasible”.

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The day before Howard League boss Frances Crook penned an open letter (embedded below) to Javid which labelled his behaviour “extraordinary” and requested the “immediate retraction” of Javid’s own letter to the US attorney general.

Kotey and Elsheikh are reported to have been members of a brutal four-man cell of ISIS executioners in Syria and Iraq, allegedly responsible for capturing and executing a series of high-profile Western detainees — and earning millions of dollars in ransom payments.

Nicknamed after the 1960s band because of their British accents, the duo were captured in January and are understood to have been stripped of their British citizenship, sparking a row over whether they should be returned to the UK for trial or face justice in another jurisdiction.

UPDATE: Friday 27 at 09:54 am

The Home Office has now confirmed it has temporarily suspended cooperation with US authorities over the extradition of Kotey and Elsheikh.

The decision comes after lawyers for Elsheikh’s mother launched an emergency legal challenge seeking to quash Javid’s decision to provide evidence at trial without requesting the customary pledge that the pair would not face execution.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said:

“Yesterday we received a request from the legal representative of the family of one of the suspects to pause the MLA [mutual legal assistance] response. We have agreed to a short-term pause. The government remains committed to bringing these people to justice and we are confident we have acted in full accordance of the law and within the government’s longstanding MLA policy.”

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53 Comments

Anonymous

I always thought the Beatles were seriously overrated.

(7)(1)

Tom Bowler

Speaking as a remain-voting left-leaning 30-something who is generally anti-capital punishment, I think that the “outrage” about this is coming from a tiny but vocal minority.

Polls have consistently shown either a majority or plurality of UK voters still favour the death penalty for murder. Even more people will probably be OK with it in exceptional cases such as this one.

My own opposition to capital punishment is based on the possibility of a mistake being made, not some higher lofty principle such as no one “deserves” the death penalty (these guys, if guilty, certainly do in the eyes of most).

Nor do I think it’s cruel and unusual (innocent people die horribly and painfully every day through no fault of their own, so why should a murderer be given special protection?)

Crowdfunders such as this are not going to win an anti capital punishment argument like this.

Trying to get members of their own echo chamber to donate to this will not endear them to the public at large, and they are not keepers of a sacred moral flame for the public, whom they “know better” than.

My message to fellow left-leaning abolitionists: pick your battles.

(34)(6)

Anonymous

Very eloquently put.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

This kind of hard case is exactly the right battle to be fought – because it exposes the principle of the matter. The popularity of the case doesn’t matter: Human rights are not democratic – they are a recognition that the majority can do terrible things to a minority or individuals. A government that is opposed to the death penalty “unless they’re really bad” is not a government that opposes the death penalty.

(7)(4)

Anonymous

Innocent people die horrible deaths every day through no fault of their own, therefore it is a suitable thing for the state to order as a punishment – is that the logic here?

Innocent people also lose their homes in fires, and are raped, and go blind, and break their legs etc etc. Which of those should we add to the range of sentencing?

(9)(1)

Anonymous

No, the point is it happens to people who don’t deserve it, so why should we protect someone who does deserve it by regarding it as a gross breach of their human rights.

It isn’t!

(1)(3)

Anonymous

It happens to people who don’t deserve it, and it shouldn’t, but there’s nothing we can do about that. That seems to me to unconnected to the question of whether the state should actively decide to make the same things happen to people who “do deserve it”.

Anonymous

Let’s have a referendum then and see whether the people think the death penalty is right or wrong.

Or is direct democracy only acceptable when the liberal elite says so?

Anonymous

What’s the bet Jolyon will want in on this?

(5)(0)

Anonymous

I always thought they were prepared to die, multiple virgins in paradise etc…. I like to think that execution would merely be helping them along on their mission?

Unless there is some kind of loop-hole and you don’t reach paradise if you are dispatched by another?

(5)(1)

Anonymous

If they’re killed by a woman they don’t reach paradise – that’s why the female Yazidi army make them shit themselves. So female executioner?

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Is Teresa May worried that she won’t win in Maidenhead next time against Labour, unless she can show radical credentials ?

Has she pulled a string here, so that she can say she has pulled a string in 2022 ?

Fascinating.

(1)(5)

Insider

I have an insider leak from someone in the party.

They are actually considering putting a referendum on capital punishment in the next election manifesto.

This is a testing of the water on public opinion.

You heard it here first.

(0)(6)

Anonymous

and last.

fucking lol

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Who shat on your Christmas pie?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

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Anonymous

That may be sensible. It is punishable by death in sharia to criticise the prophet. So introduction of the death penalty will pave the way for that, and it would be popular in many places.

There are easy lines to take e.g. saving tax payers money.

The Tories need to get radical and they know this because Zak goldsmith lost in London and it is now radical or lose.

Trump knows it too. This is why in his interview with Tucker Carlson he takes the line that Europe has changed. Understanding democracy as he does, the situation warrants past tense. Anjem Choudhary warned us it would.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

These people murdered and tortured other people simply because of their faith.

They humiliated them as they killed them and streamed the videos onto the internet.

Let them have the option of being killed after a fair trial as punishment and deterrent.

(34)(1)

Anonymous

Thats one way to throw your money down the drain

(12)(1)

Anonymous

How can one donate to the other side’s legal team?

(11)(1)

Anonymous

Go on holiday to the good ole’ US of A

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Buy MAGA hats

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Let them die. They just as bad as the Nazis.

(14)(1)

Josh

Uh uh.

Because they’re minorities you can’t compare them to Nazis.

That’s not OK.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Guessing “Lord Carlile” is on a trolling spree and donated £500 to sit back and watch the fireworks if this ever actually gains traction?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I care more about “OH MA GERD MONEYLAW” than the fate of these two. Let ’em hang.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

I prefer death by jojo.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Lauren Southern banned from the UK for patently spurious and censorious reasons, and no-one cares.

A couple of terrorist animals allowed to go to the US to receive the justice they so patently deserve, and the virtue-signallers go crazy.

Something has gone very wrong with our society.

(50)(1)

Anonymous

Not sure what is funnier, the idea of you refreshing the page and upvoting your own post 24 times, or the idea that you thought it would be remotely believable that 24 readers of this website would seriously believe that some random internet racist’s holiday plans are more important than whether or not we continue to oppose the death penalty in this country.

(2)(32)

Anonymous

Thank you for your intelligent, well-argued and sophisticated contribution to this debate. I shall give it appropriate consideration.

(23)(0)

Charlie Chunk

It’s a pity that the death penalty was removed for treason in 1998.

The penalty for murder at common law is death by hanging.

Our own statute law abolished it in the UK, however our common law continues to evolve as the JCPC adjudicate on the death penalty in some Commonwealth countries where it remains.

The common law position in 2018 is that:

The death penalty itself is not cruel and unusual per se, it is the death-row phenomenon that is.

No one should spend more than five years awaiting execution.

That execution should follow swiftly when all appeals have failed.

No one who is under 18 or mentally incapacitated should be executed.

Execution should be reserved for “the worst of the worst”.

If found guilty, this pair would probably qualify under the common law.

Repeal the Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965 and the common law (above) is what English law would default to.

Food for thought…

(4)(1)

Trumpenkrieg

Who do this lot think they are? Self-appointed (albeit un-elected) do-gooders who think they know better than the majority of the population of this country.

The left do not have a monopoly on “right”.

The left do not know better than everyone else.

On this, they are most definitely wrong.

(8)(2)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Self appointed and unelected mean the same thing idiot.

(2)(6)

Anonymous

Sorry I think you mean:

Self-appointed and unelected mean the same thing, idiot.

(2)(0)

Pedant

No they don’t. Self-appointed is a subset of unelected.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Peasant

(0)(0)

Each

Proposition: “Executing a murderer brings society down to their level and makes us as bad as them”.

If so:

Does fining a thief “make us as bad as them”?

Does imprisoning a defendant for kidnap and false imprisonment “make us as bad as them”?

Discuss.

There will be a death penalty referendum within a decade.

(8)(1)

Mr Prole

The fact is that people die every day, often horribly and painfully, through illness and accident. Often undeserved.

Having witnessed the lingering and painful deaths of loved ones due to illness, it’s hard for me to see a quick death as punishment for a murderer as a gross violation of human rights.

(2)(1)

The Howard League for Penile Reform

You too can save a life!

Al and El sit cowering in their cells in Syria, not knowing whether it is day or night time.

Soon they are likely to be handcuffed, chained and put into an aeroplane to the Unites States of America.

There they will each be put into a dehumanising orange boiler suit and allocated a poorly-paid Public Defender to plead their cases.

They will face trial by jury. Can you imagine how primitive this experience will seem to them?

Their lives will be in the hands of 12 citizens of the United States, some of whom may hold horrific views on abortion, gun control, evolution and LGBTQI+ rights.

Can you imagine how scared and bewildered El and Al will be? In a foreign country where a strange version of their language is spoken. There is no guarantee that they will be afforded an interpreter.

El and Al could end up facing the death penalty if they are convicted. If that happens, they will spend years on death row, not knowing how long they have left.

When the day comes, they will be led into a room, strapped to a hospital trolly, and given a fatal dose of anaesthetic.

Can you imagine a more gross violation of human rights and human dignity?

But you can help stop this from happening.

By giving to The Howard League for Penal Reform’s crowdfunding campaign, you can help save the lives of El and Al.

Your donation will go towards enabling El and Al to have the very best legal representation available in the United Kingdom.

Your donation will help to stop the British government being complicit in state-sponsored murder in the United States.

No one deserves to die.

No one is incapable of reform.

We must look past what El and Al have done and see them for what they are- human beings deserving of human rights and human dignity.

The world is watching- save El and Al before it is too late.

Please donate whatever you can.

Thank you.

(2)(16)

Anonymous

Are you actually crazy?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I’ve voted it down because the mention that no one is capable of reform is insincere.

No one is going to try and reform these guys. They are part of the broad church, the jihad element of Islam.

Show us footage that the Beatles repent of the jihadi creed and wish to renounce the caliphate, if I am mistaken.

They are as integral to it as the Linda Sarsour figure.

Also if your organisation was sincere about caring for prisoners because they are the least of these, my brethren, then it would have behaved differently in relation to Tommy Robinson’s solitary confinement.

On top of that the lack of breadth to your reform is a deliberate inversion of the breadth of the beatitudes and the key principle that to love your neighbour was the fulfilment of human psychology.

Why would someone want to fund an inverted organisation ?

I think this is worth saying even if your post is sarcastic.

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Incapable.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Don’t feed the troll!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

10/10 top bants, look at username

(2)(0)

Anonymous

“Can you imagine a more gross violation of human rights and human dignity?”

Yes, yes I can. They murdered and tortured other people, humiliated and degrading them right up to their final moment on this earth as they streamed the videos live to the world.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I will never support the return of the Death Penalty in the UK as an option for UK Courts dealing with criminal prosecutions (treason, “worst of the worst” or not). That being said, this is an entirely different matter.
I also support the UK’s consistent policy that when deciding whether to extradite a British citizen (or anyone else) that assurances the death penalty will not be invoked.

This was a different situation, however, because the question is not strictly one of extradition but a question about whether non-British citizens held abroad (I believe by Kurdish forces) should be tried in the USA or UK.

I do believe that the UK should, as it has done here through Sajid Javid, exercise a discretion (subject to anxious scrutiny) in non-extradition/non-British citizen cases to remain neutral on the matter and refrain from seeking assurances. I would imagine that it might be appropriate in cases where the actions of those to be tried fall into an exceptional category more akin to war crimes/crimes against humanity.

This is not a case where the UK is determining whether or not to extradite individuals held in our custody, but is rather a determination about venue for trial. I do not understand the position to be that in any such case we will always seek assurances. The current policy is built on the premise that we will not “hand over” individuals who might be executed. In this case the question is about whether we are going to take positive steps to demand their trial here as opposed to elsewhere.

It is a matter for the USA as to whether they decide to use the death penalty, and it is possible that it would be appropriate in this case.

Equally, it is hypocritical to say we have a consistent and principled objection to capital punishment when we are (a) content to use lethal force in combat scenarios abroad and (b) one of our highest courts (JCPC) hears and “imposes” death penalties in Commonwealth realms (refusing an appeal must be akin to “imposition” using the logic of those calling for the UK to seek assurances in this case). It simply isn’t true that we have an absolute blanket opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances ! What is true is:

1) We have a settled and probably unshakeable opposition to Capital Punishment in this jurisdiction as regards our domestic law – the UK authorities will never be sanctioned to carry out such acts,
2) We always seek assurances in extradition cases;
3) We use our soft power globally to campaign for abolition across the world

Whilst advocating abolition, we must always remember that we are not lords and masters of the world. We must maintain our principles by recognising that other sovereign states have the right to decide the issue for themselves. Otherwise we may as well follow Jeremy Corbyn’s lead and impose direct rule on all commonwealth countries who don’t follow our version of justice to the letter on a whole range of issues. We only fully decided in, what, 1998!!?

“Oh yeah we decided this was wrong 5 minutes ago so, anyone who doesn’t follow our lead is backwards”

(5)(0)

Anonymous

This site is crazy, yesterday my comments were censored for calling an unknown person a feminazi, today they are crowdfunding to support terrorism, just blows my mind.

(8)(1)

Lucas

Dear lord, how stupid are people?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This is so stupid. Vote UKIP for rational politics.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

I would encourage others to do as I have done.

Click the link to the VirginMoney Giving, then go down to the button that says report content.

Then advise them of your shock that they would host a page such as this and offer to disassociate yourself from the Virgin Group should it not be taken down.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I note that now the echo chamberists have donated, the funds seem to be lacking.

I wonder why…

(0)(0)

Paul Nutter MEP, mate.

Does the £20K save one terrorist from the noose or both?

If the crowdfunding falls short can we have a phone vote on which one to save?

Maybe they can go head to head to plead for their lives, live on Netflix, with multiple criteria to decide on (shittiest pants etc).

Pay per view execution for the other?

The possibilities are endless, and I would volunteer (maybe even pay) to pull the lever.

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.

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