NEWS
10/02/2018 12:26 GMT | Updated 10/02/2018 12:30 GMT

Tobias Ellwood, Who Lost Brother To Terrorism, Says ISIS Killers Should Face War Crimes Trial

Minister says rule of law 'fundamentally distinguishes us from terrorists'.

British members of an ISIS execution squad should stand trials for war crimes, a defence minister, whose brother died in a terrorist attack, has said. 

Tobias Ellwood said recently captured Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, two members of the group whom captives nicknamed The Beatles, should be tried at The Hague and not taken to Guantanamo Bay.

The four Londoners gained global notoriety to a string of filmed hostage murders in Iraq and Syria during the bloody Islamist uprising. Kotey and Elsheikh were captured by Kurdish forces last month.

The group included Mohammed Emwazi, who was nicknamed “Jihadi John” and died in a 2015 drone strike.

Handout . / Reuters
Alexanda Kotey (left) and Shafee Elsheikh (right), in a photo released by their captors, The Syrian Democratic Forces 

Ellwood, whose brother Jonathan was killed in the 2002 Bali bombing, told The Daily Telegraph and The Times the pair should not be taken to Guantanamo Bay, where the US holds suspected terrorists in legal limbo.

The MP, who was also caught up in the Westminster terror attack last year, said: “We have robust rules of engagement which legitimise the killing of terrorists in theatres of operations but once captured they must answer and be judged to a legitimate authority.

“The horror of 9/11 meant we briefly lost sight of the standards and rule of law that took centuries to develop and fundamentally distinguish us from the terrorist.”

PA Archive/PA Images
Tobias Ellwood (centre, wearing glasses) was caught up in the Westminster terror attack and tried to save fatally injured police officer PC Keith Palmer

The pair have reportedly been stripped of their British citizenship and face possible removal to the United States.

US officials said Kotey and Elsheikh “are suspected to have participated in the detention, exploitation and execution of Western detainees”.

A US Department of Defence spokesman saying they were “considering options”.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told The Sun he did not want to see Kotey and Elsheikh stand trial in the UK.

Captives murdered by the group included British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, who were beheaded in propaganda videos.

The group’s fourth member, Aine Davis, was convicted of being a member of a terrorist organisation and jailed for seven-and-a-half years at a court in Silivri, Turkey, in May.

French journalist Nicolas Henin, who was held by the group for 10 months, said some of his fellow hostages were tortured during their captivity.

He told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “I will be extremely frustrated if they are not offered a fair trial, and I don’t think that the local authorities in northern Syria or that detention in Guantanamo would be justice.”