Supreme Court challenge to lawfulness of UK facilitation of the death penalty in the US

Monday 5 August 2019

Jacob Bindman is representing the intervener, Reprieve, led by Mark Summers QC at Matrix Chambers. They are instructed by Rosa Curling of Leigh Day in the expedited appeal at the Supreme Court.

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This Supreme Court case, Elgizouli v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 60 (Admin), concerns the lawfulness of the Government’s knowing facilitation of the death penalty by the USA.  

Maha Elgizouli, the appellant, is the mother of a man alleged to have been one of a group of four British terrorists operating in Syria and alleged to have been involved in the killing of US citizens.

In June 2015, the US made a mutual legal assistance (‘MLA’) request to the UK in relation to an investigation into the activities of these alleged terrorists. The Home Secretary at the time requested an assurance that the information would not be used directly or indirectly in a prosecution that could lead to the imposition of the death penalty. 

Ultimately, in June 2018, the Home Secretary at the time, Sajid Javid, agreed to share evidence with US authorities without seeking assurances that the evidence provided would not be used in a prosecution in which the death penalty would be sought, following conviction in the US. A decision taken in large part because of fears about the hostile reaction of the Trump Administration and against the long standing public policy of the UK Government not to provide MLA in such circumstances, and to seek to prevent the use of the death penalty wherever possible.

Maha Elgizouli is challenging this decision by the Home Secretary.

The Supreme Court case was heard on 31 July and 1 August 2019. Judgment is reserved and will be handed down at a later date.

This case has been widely reported in the media.

Jacob Bindman is a member of the Garden Court Chambers International Team, Civil Liberties & Human Rights Team and Crime Team.

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