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ISIS 'Beatles' will not face death penalty

The US has told the UK that Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh will not face the death penalty if convicted of the killings of Western hostages in Iraq and Syria.

The two ISIS suspects, dubbed the ISIS ‘Beatles’ because of their accents, are in US military custody in Iraq having been stripped of their UK nationality. They are alleged to have been members of an ISIS kidnap gang behind the killings of a number of Western hostages, including American journalists and British aid workers, in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

A legal fight over the use of the death penalty has stymied co-operation between the two nations, but the US has now made clear the two will not be executed if found guilty.

In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, US Attorney General William Barr said the US authorities would not seek the death penalty against the two men and ‘if imposed, it will not be carried out’. The decision should mean that the UK can now more openly share ‘important evidence’ about the men.

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