Mother of IS member loses bid to block UK evidence transfer

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LONDON (AP) — The mother of a British man who is suspected in the beheadings of Westerners taken hostage by the Islamic State group lost a court challenge Tuesday to the British government’s decision to share evidence about her son with American authorities.

El Shafee Elsheikh and another British man who admitted joining IS, Alexanda Kotey, are in U.S. custody. The two are are accused of belonging to a cell of executioners responsible for killing Western captives in Syria. Surviving captives nicknamed them and two other jihadists they encountered “The Beatles” because they spoke English with British accents.

Elsheikh’s mother challenged British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision to provide information to U.S. prosecutors under a “mutual legal assistance” request, arguing that the move was unlawful and incompatible with data protection laws.

Judges rejected the case Tuesday, meaning that British authorities can now hand over the requested evidence to American authorities.

U.S. prosecutors notified the British government last month that they would not pursue the death penalty against the two suspects, removing a hurdle in the men’s potential prosecution. An earlier British court ruling had effectively blocked the sharing of evidence with American authorities because the U.S. had not offered assurances that the death penalty was off the table.

The British men, captured two years ago by a Kurdish-led, U.S.-backed militia, are accused of participating in a brutal Islamic State group cell known for beheadings and the barbaric treatment of American aid workers, journalists and other hostages in Syria.

U.S. officials have not announced any charges against the men, but have spoken of their desire to see members of the cell face justice.

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