UK

Jihadi John: CAGE Blames Britain For Mohammed Emwazi's 'Journey' To Becoming Isis Killer

13/11/2015 14:23 GMT | Updated 13/11/2015 14:59 GMT

A controversial group has blamed Britain for 'Jihadi John', saying his "journey" to becoming a sadistic killer started here, after an airstrike reportedly killed the militant.

Advocacy group CAGE caused huge controversy in February, after Mohammed Emwazi was unmasked the Islamic State executioner, when it described him as a "extremely kind and gentle" at a bizarre press conference where they blamed British security services for harassing him, which had prompted him to approach CAGE.

At the press conference, then-CAGE director Asim Qureshi said: "You might be surprised to know that the Mohammed that I knew was extremely kind, extremely gentle, extremely soft spoken, was the most humble young person that I knew."

jihadi john

Mohammed Emwazi, pictured before and after he joined IS

The comments led to the group being labelled "apologists" for Emwazi's actions and David Cameron said groups such as the NUS were "shamed" by associating with CAGE.

Today, reacting to reports that Emwazi has been killed in a US drone strike, a Cage spokesperson said: "The responsibility for the murders of the hostages lies firmly with Emwazi and his ISIS handlers. His journey to becoming ‘Jihadi John’ however, lay in Britain."

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The statement added that Emwazi's killing was a "state sponsored" assassination and added he should have been tried "as a war criminal".

Dr Adnan Siddiqui, Director of CAGE, said on Friday: “Emwazi’s execution of defenceless hostages was inexcusable. But all avenues that led him to that point need to be investigated."

After CAGE's previous comments on Emwazi, major donors backed out of giving it more money and the group underwent an internal review, after which it admitted mistakes in handling the affair.

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Then-CAGE Director Asim Qureshi (left) describing Mohammed Emwazi at February's press conference

Dr Siddiqui added:“CAGE has acknowledged mistakes were made in our handling of the Emwazi affair, but we reiterate our call for a full inquiry into what caused Emwazi to feel so alienated in the UK that he felt his only option was to leave.

"Such an enquiry is essential if we are to understand and put an end to individuals being drawn into political violence.”

The group also claimed civilians had likely died in the strike targetting Emwazi, saying there had been 14 overnight in Raqqa.

Their call for Emwazi to be put on trial echoes Jeremy Corbyn, who said: "It appears Mohammed Emwazi has been held to account for his callous and brutal crimes.

"However, it would have been far better for us all if he had been held to account in a court of law."

Emwazi's death is still unconfirmed. Speaking on Friday morning, Cameron said it was too early to know whether the strike succeeded.

He said: "I have always said we would do whatever was necessary, whatever it took, to track down Emwazi.

"We have been working with the US literally around the clock to track him down this was a combined effort. He posed an ongoing and serious threat. He was ISIL's lead executioner.

"This was an act of self defence. It was the right thing to do. Today I want to thank the United States. The United Kingdom has no better friend or ally."