Hawzah News Agency - Edward Fitzgerald QC, representing the mother of El Shafee Elsheikh, who is accused of involvement in Daesh atrocities against Westerners in Syria, said Monday that Home Secretary Sajid Javid was clearly fearful of “political outrage” in the government of US President Donald Trump when he decided in May to cooperate with US authorities in the prosecution of the suspect and his comrade Alexanda Kotey.
Fitzgerald said Javid defied calls from the Foreign Office and senior civil servants recommending him to seek assurances from the US that the two men would not face the death penalty.
He told the high court that the decision, which has sparked fierce controversy in Britain, a country that is proud of abolishing capital punishment, was “in large part because of anticipated outrage among political appointments in the Trump administration.”
The lawyer said the decision was also a violation of general procedure in such cases in the Home Office, where previous secretaries, Theresa May and Amber Rudd, had sought such assurances in the cases of both suspects.
Elsheikh and Kotey are believed to have been members of the “the Beatles”, a Daesh terrorism cell largely comprised of Western recruits that allegedly carried out 27 beheadings of US and UK citizens in Syria in 2014.
Many have criticized the British government for kowtowing to US demands for allowing the prosecution of the two in America.
Fitzgerald reiterated during the court hearing that Elsheikh’s mother, Maha El Gizouli, had no intention of excusing “the appalling acts” of her son by lodging the complaint against the Home Office. He added that the mother feared that his son would suffer a “gruesome and painful” death through lethal injection if slapped with the death sentence in the US.
“It’s relevant that the families of the victims have said they want justice but not the death penalty,” said the lawyer.