Should British terrorists go on trial in the US?
Two suspected IS terrorists who grew up in Britain are to go on trial in the US. Contrary to expectations London has sought no assurances that Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, known as the Islamic State "Beatles", will not receive the death penalty. British media are angered by the government's stance.
Human rights don't just hold for likable people
The Guardian is shocked at the nonchalance with which the British government is violating key principles and accepting what could prove to be a death penalty for the presumed terrorists:
“Principles do admittedly get in the way of all sorts of things, but that's what makes them principles. They're meant to be inviolable, immovable, moral absolutes. You can't be opposed in principle to the death penalty except when it turns out to be inconvenient; you can't be in favour of human rights only so long as they apply to likable people. Putting humans to death is either wrong or it isn't, and as a nation we have been officially opposed to it for so long that we had begun to take it dangerously for granted. Suddenly, the debate no longer feels settled.”
Laws lag behind new problems
The debate makes clear that Britain urgently needs a legal reform so as to be able to deal appropriately with terrorists who were born and raised in the country, The Times believes:
“The government's quandary over how to punish the British jihadists known as the Beatles highlights the need to update our law of treason. Rather than focus on threats to the life of the monarch, as it has done since Edward III introduced it in 1351, it should be redefined to include threats to British society as a whole...A redefined treason law would also remove the incentive to export justice to foreign jurisdictions. It's wrong that the US should be expected to try the so-called Beatles. Though now stripped of their nationality, they were brought up in Britain and it is here that (if found guilty) they should be imprisoned.”