If Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, allegedly members of the Da’esh kidnappers and murderers known as the Beatles, are found guilty then I’m sure that they should be denied the death penalty.
They are, after all, members of a death cult that pursues ‘martyrdom’ and perversely believes that, were they to be martyred, they would be rewarded in heaven with the services of 42 virgins.
(I understand that some scholars question the translation and insist that the meaning is ‘raisins’ and not ‘virgins’. My word, there will have to be a major effort to manage expectations in paradise).
Much better to imprison them for life so that they have years of boredom in which to dwell upon the virgins (or raisins) that they are presently going without.
The first priority however, is to secure a conviction rather to put the cart before the horse and fret about the punishment.
The Government had exactly the right priority in furnishing the United States with the intelligence and evidence that it held against the two alleged terrorists so that they could be brought to trial, without making our assistance conditional on the outcome of any trial (by securing an assurance that, in the event of conviction the death penalty would not be invoked).
That the Government has had to suspend its assistance to the USA because of a legal challenge from the mother of one of the accused, illustrates just what a mess our Human Rights law is now in.
As I’ve made clear, for these particular individuals, if guilty, there are better punishments, but that must be a matter for the judgement of the court in the jurisdiction in which they are to be tried.
If we have evidence that could convict gruesome murderers we should provide it irrespective of what punishment may await them.
The great roar of indignation in Parliament earlier this week about the Government’s failure first to secure a ‘no death penalty’ assurance from USA before giving our assistance, is another measure of how out- of-step our ‘great and good’ political class has become from the people that they are supposed to represent.
In my experience the good people of these islands are not so squeamish about the possibility of the death penalty as their liberal- minded politicians appear to be.