Urge the Home Secretary to uphold unqualified opposition to the death penalty

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The BBC has today (23 July 2018) reported that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, 'will not block [the] death penalty' in the case of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who were captured in Syria in January, and face trial in the US, charged with membership of Islamic State (IS). This appears inconsistent with the UK's stance on the global abolition of the death penalty.

It is in the case of the most odious criminal actions that the strictest adherence to legal and moral high principle is so clearly required. Contemporary British opposition to capital punishment reflects our fundamental Christian values, which asserts the inherent dignity of all human life, regardless of the wicked actions which some individuals commit. Nor is it likely, on a purely pragmatic basis, that "exemplar" executions will dissuade individuals from terrorism: capital punishment is more likely, in such cases, to encourage others to view those executed as martyrs. Complicity with capital punishment "buys in" to the circle of violence from which terrorism ultimately emanates, and debases and threatens our British way of life far more seriously than terrorist atrocities.

We call on Sajid Javid to restate the UK government's opposition to the death penalty in general, and in this particular case.



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