London – CAGE condemns the UK decision announced by Sajid Javid to allow the US their own discretion to impose the death penalty on Alexander Kotey and El Shafee Elshiekh or send them to Guantanamo Bay. This in effect allows the death penalty where there is a high likelihood of a lack of due process.
Javid is making a huge mistake in abdicating the UK’s responsibility and undermining international norms of justice. The US has a track record of not adhering to due process in terrorism trials and at Guantanamo Bay. The death penalty system is no exception.
Britain abolished the death penalty in 1998 and it is therefore a violation of UK justice to facilitate sending people to countries where they may be executed.
However, the UK government has in recent years sought to remove its responsibility for its citizens who are detained unjustly, tortured or killed abroad by revoking their nationalities, as in the case of Mahdi Hashi and Belal al-Berjawi.
Rather than being an example to the world of the importance of due process, Javid is allowing for Britain to create even newer ‘exceptions’ to the rule of law.
Moazzam Begg, outreach director for CAGE, said:
“Considering the UK’s official position on Guantanamo is for it “to be closed”, and the fact that the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) last month reported on how British agents had been complicit in torture there, the Home Secretary’s position is hypocritical and flies in the face of Britain’s obligations against arbitrary imprisonment, torture and the death penalty.”
“These men stand accused of committing serious crimes. However, both Britain and the US have admitted direct involvement and complicity in the torture of hundreds of terrorism suspects over two decades. It is hard to see how either country can play an objective and meaningful role in any judicial process. That is why these men should be tried at an international court.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)