High Court rules UK government allowed to cooperate with US authorities in ISIS investigation without securing death penalty assurances

18th Jan 2019

Maha Elgizouli, the mother of suspected ISIS member, El Shafee Elsheikh, has lost her High Court claim to challenge the UK government’s decision to share evidence with the US authorities without seeking assurances that Mr Elsheikh would not be executed if he is found guilty after a trial in the US. The UK authorities responded to the US authorities’ MLA request and shared 600 witness statements gathered by the Metropolitan Police.

Ms Elgizouli’s lawyers argued that the government’s decision not to request assurances that Mr Elsheikh and Mr Kotey would not face the death penalty was “a clear and dramatic departure from the UK’s longstanding, international and domestic commitment to oppose the continuing exercise of the death penalty.”

In response, lawyers representing the Home Office, argued that there was “no domestic authority which establishes that the government is under an obligation not to provide mutual legal assistance to a friendly foreign state which is governed by the rule of law and which has the death penalty.”

Both Mr Elsheikh and Mr Kotey had their British citizenship revoked, in 2014, when they left the UK to join other ISIS soldiers in Syria, therefore it was argued that they have no rights under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights or the UK Human Rights Act and are beyond the jurisdiction of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Today, 18 January 2019, the High Court ruled the UK has no legal duty to protect Mr Elsheikh.

Jasvinder Nakhwal
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7822 7753

Nick Vamos
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7822 7776