Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 24 July 2018. © Richard Kemp
The Home Secretary is right to agree to pass evidence against Islamic State terror suspects Alexanda Kotey and Shafee El-Sheikh to the US Attorney General without guarantees that they will not be executed if convicted. His decision cannot have been easy.
The Government is opposed to the death penalty and has a long-standing policy of securing assurances that it will not be used by foreign governments if current (or former, in the case of Kotey and El-Sheikh) British citizens are extradited. Indeed, there has been outrage against this move by human rights activists and we can expect legal challenges.
But Sajid Javid is prioritising the rights and safety of innocents above the human rights of suspected terrorists. Far better for them to go to the electric chair in the US if convicted than to let them come back to Britain and murder our citizens.
For the same reason, if they can’t be successfully prosecuted in the US, they should be sent to Guantánamo Bay. Many people balk at that, but what is the alternative?
Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 with a pledge to close Guantánamo, but when he stepped down after eight years it was still open. It is the equivalent of a prisoner of war camp during conventional hostilities and, even after 17 years of the War on Terror, no one has come up with a viable alternative.
Some claim that it is a recruiting sergeant for terrorism against the West, and that incarceration there, or a death sentence, would make martyrs of Kotey and El-Sheikh. Maybe. But there is a greater risk if they are not dealt with effectively. (more…)