European Officials Outraged Over Home Secretary’s Failure To Request Death Penalty Assurance For The 'Beatles'


The European Human Rights Court (EHRC) is an international court that rules on “state and individual violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.If a member-state is thought to have violated one of the human rights set out in the organization’s convention, an individual or another member-state can file an “application” to be ruled upon by the court’s judges.

The “Beatles,” a terrorist cell of four militants from the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” were responsible for brutal beheadings which they often recorded on video. They were given their nickname by the hostages they guarded because of their English accents. One of the four was killed and another arrested and convicted in Turkey, leaving Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee El-Sheikh, who were captured in January by US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria.

They are responsible for beheadings in Iraq and Syria, most notably as shown in the beheading videos of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, in 2014. According to a freed French hostage, the “Beatles” were the most feared of the jihadists because of their taste for the macabre and their beatings, use of electric shock, Taser guns, mock executions (including a crucifixion of Foley), and waterboarding.

The men once held British citizenship, but have since lost it.

Last week, a letter from UK Home Office Secretary Sajid Javid to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was leaked. It is the policy of both the UK government and the EHRC to request a “death penalty assurance,”  a guaranty that the suspect will not be executed, before releasing him to a foreign government.

Perhaps due to the brutality of these men, Javid decided to waive this requirement. He wrote:

“I am of the view that there are strong reasons for not requiring a death penalty assurance in this specific case, so no such assurances will be sought.”

He said he had instructed officials to “action the request” for UK cooperation.

He adds: “As you are aware, it is the long-held position of the UK to seek death penalty assurances, and our decision in this case does not reflect a change in our policy on assistance in US death penalty cases generally, nor the UK government’s stance on the global abolition of the death penalty.”

The mother of El-Sheikh has filed an application with the EHRC to oppose the waiver. And this action forced UK Home Office Secretary Sajid Javid to notify Attorney General Jeff Sessions that, until the EHRC judges rule on it, “Britain has since been forced to pause intelligence-sharing with the U.S.”

Many MPs and other European officials are outraged over this issue. According to journalist Brendan O’Neill:

“The fury over the possibility that these two men will be executed has been intense. Unusually intense. More intense, it feels, than the fury that greeted the ISIS Beatles’ severing of Alan Henning’s neck,” O’Neill wrote, referring to the beheading of a British aid worker, allegedly by the so-called ‘Beatles’, which Islamic State broadcast online.

“It is a perverse moral worldview that feels more put out by the execution of alleged mass murderers than by the mass murder itself.”

Why does anyone care about the lives of these terrorists who have brutally tortured and beheaded their captives? What about the human rights of their victims and their victim’s families? Do these officials really believe it’s wrong to execute these ISIL killers or do they fear being labeled as Islamophobic?