Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

What next for ‘Beatles’ terror suspects?

There have been calls for the men to face a fair trial.

As the future of the two “Beatles” terror suspects remains unclear, here are some of the options that could end up determining their fate.

Guantanamo Bay

US president Donald Trump cancelled the planned closure of the US military prison in Cuba and declared on the campaign trail that he wanted to “load it up with some bad dudes”, and it has been suggested in some quarters that Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh could be sent to the base there.

The pair were captured by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and have since been interrogated by US officials.

Human Rights Watch has previously said that sending members of the so-called Islamic State to Guantanamo Bay could prove counterproductive to efforts to fight terrorism. It said the existence of the base provides “fuel to the Islamic State (also known as Isis), al Qaeda, and other Islamist armed groups that are seeking to discredit the US”.

It added: “Such armed groups have routinely used the situation at Guantanamo in their propaganda materials to recruit fighters globally.”

Criminal trial in the United States

The American Department of Defence has said it is still “considering options”, but wishes to hold the men accountable for the acts of which they are accused.

The mother of US journalist James Foley, who was among the terror cell’s victims, said she hoped the two men would be put on trial in the US.

She told the Guardian: “Their crimes are beyond imagination. They really have not done anything good in the world, so I think they need to spend the rest of their life being held.”

One of the options facing the so-called Beatles is being sent to Guantanamo Bay (US Department of Defence/PA)

The International Criminal Court, The Hague

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood has led calls for the two British men to be put on trial at an international war crimes court.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has the jurisdiction to prosecute people for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

However, the ICC is not intended to replace national criminal systems, and will prosecute cases only when states are unwilling or unable to do so.

The United Nations Security Council can also refer a case to the ICC, granting it jurisdiction.

Several people have been brought before the ICC for war crimes in relation to the situation in Darfur, Sudan, while Muammar Gaddafi was indicted before his death on two counts of crimes against humanity over the Libyan civil war.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph