Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday lifted a ban against sharing evidence with the United States on the activities of two British citizens alleged to have been executioners for Islamic State. The US military is holding Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh at an undisclosed location abroad, and the Justice Department is seeking to try them in connection with the gruesome killings of Western hostages. Britain abolished the death penalty some 50 years ago and Elsheikh’s mother petitioned the court to ban the transfer of any evidence the country had gathered that might result in the two being put to death. In a statement last week, however, Attorney-General William Barr promised that in case of a trial, prosecutors would not seek capital punishment, adding that even if a court imposes death sentences of its own, the government would block the executions. Kotey and Elsheikh are believed to have been members of a quartet of British citizens who joined ISIS and were dubbed “The Beatles” after taking high-profile roles in videotaped executions, including those of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. A third member is believed to have been killed in a US air strike.
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