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Theresa May refuses to back Javid’s decision to allow death penalty for British jihadis



Theresa May Sajid Javid
Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Prime Minister Theresa


  • Theresa May did not authorise the decision to allow
    extradition of British jihadis facing death penalty in the
  • May’s spokesperson tells Business Insider that she was
    “made aware” of the decision but refuses to say whether she
    supports it.
  • The Home Secretary Sajid Javid and former Foreign
    Secretary Boris Johnson authorised the extradition of the
    captured jihadists Alexanda Kotey and Shafee
  • Britain has previously had a longstanding opposition to
    allowing extraditions where the death penalty could be

LONDON — Theresa May’s spokesperson today repeatedly refused to
say whether the prime minister supports a decision to overturn
Britain’s longstanding opposition to the death penalty, in an
extradition deal with the Trump administration.

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid dropped Britain’s policy of
requiring assurances from the US that the death penalty will not
be used, before agreeing to extradite the captured
jihadists, Alexanda Kotey and Shafee El-Sheikh, to the US.

The decision, which was
leaked to the Telegraph
, breaks a longstanding UK policy of
opposing extraditions in circumstances where individuals could
face the death penalty.

Questioned by Business Insider, a spokesperson for May on Monday
would only say that the prime minister was “made aware” of
Javid’s decision but would not explicitly support it.

“The decision was taken by the Home Secretary and the former
Foreign Secretary following the advice of lawyers and officials
and the prime minister was made aware of the decision,” they

Pushed on why the decision had been taken by Javid and Boris
Johnson, they replied:

“We are continuing to engage with the US government on this issue
and our priority is to make sure these men face criminal
prosecution. We want to make sure they face justice in the most
appropriate jurisdiction, which maximises the chances of a
criminal prosecution and we continue to talk to the US government
about it.”

May’s government was on Monday accused of failing to uphold its
commitment to human rights.

“The crimes committed by these terrorists are amongst the most
heinous imaginable. Clearly, these two individuals present a
serious danger to the public and the argument that they should
spend the rest of their lives in prison is
overwhelming,” Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed
Davey said.

“However, the use of the death penalty — no matter the crimes
involved — is wrong. By refusing to stand up to Donald Trump’s
administration on this issue, Sajid Javid has abdicated his
responsibility to uphold fundamental human rights. He has
undermined the UK’s efforts to end the use of the death penalty
around the world.

A Downing Street source said the government would continue to
engage with the US to make the UK’s opposition to the death
penalty clear.

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