'Jihadi John' should have been tried, says UK group who knew him

13th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

A London rights group which worked with the man thought to be "Jihadi John" said Friday he should have faced trial not death after the US targeted him in a Syria air strike.

Mohammed Emwazi, who is thought to have appeared in a string of Islamic State (IS) group execution videos, was in touch with the organisation Cage for several years before leaving Britain for Syria.

Cage drew criticism after Emwazi was named as "Jihadi John" in February when it said that he had been alienated by his treatment at the hands of British security services between 2009 and 2012.

At a packed press conference at the time, Cage's research director Asim Qureishi described Emwazi as a "beautiful young man".

Cage said that MI5 had been tracking Emwazi since at least 2009, piling pressure on him which it said contributed to his radicalisation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has defended MI5's handling of the situation.

In Friday's statement, Cage said: "State-sponsored targeted assassinations undercut the judicial processes that provide the lessons by which spirals of violence can be stopped. Emwazi should have been tried as a war criminal."

Cage's director Adnan Siddiqui called Emwazi's actions "inexcusable" but added: "All avenues that led him to that point need to be investigated."

Emwazi, 27, was born in Kuwait but the family moved to London when he was six years old. He went to school in the city before studying information technology at university.

People who knew him told British media they could not reconcile the quiet but intense young man they knew with the "cold, sadistic and merciless" killer described by one former hostage.

© 2015 AFP

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