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Justice leaders wary to try ISIS fighters in US, as prosecutors push for case

Washington Post [1]
May 13, 2018

WASHINGTON – Justice Department leaders are reluctant to recommend U.S.-based criminal trials for two Islamic State militants captured and detained in Syria, according to American officials who said that, even though federal prosecutors believe they can win in court, it is unclear whether there is sufficient evidence to secure convictions and lengthy prison terms.

At the same time, senior Trump administration officials are adamant that Britain bears responsibility to prosecute the men, Alexanda Kotey, 34, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 29, whose British citizenships were revoked over their alleged affiliation with an ISIS cell suspected of murdering Westerners.

Further complicating matters, Attorney General Jeff Sessions would prefer that Kotey and Elsheikh be sent to the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, though he has recognized the success of federal terrorism prosecutions.

State Department officials are wary of undermining the U.S. government’s position that terrorist fighters captured overseas should be returned to their countries of origin.

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