Britain should put IS fighters on trial – US defence secretary

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The US defence secretary has said that the UK should take back Britons who joined Islamic State and put them on trial in this country.

Speaking to journalists on his first official visit to the UK, new US Defence Secretary Dr Mark Esper said the situation where hundreds are being held in Kurdish camps is “untenable”.

“They should all go back to their home countries to face justice,” he told a small group of reporters.

“How long can this last?”

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Asked specifically about the group known as ‘The Beatles’, Dr Esper was clear: “Our view has been that they should be repatriated and dealt with appropriately. So that’s the message, otherwise it’s a risk to the region.”

It’s estimated that there are more than 800 European IS fighters being held captive in Syria.

America has made its views clear before. President Donald Trump has said that the US might be forced to release the prisoners if European countries didn’t take them back.

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In some cases the British government has avoided the problem by stripping British passport holders of their nationality.

One, Jack Letts, held joint British-Canadian citizenship. Theresa May’s government removed his British nationality.

British citizens who go to live in areas of terrorist activity could face up to 10 years in prison under a new law which comes in earlier this year.

In April it became a specific criminal offence to enter or remain in a “designated area” overseas, under the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019.

Britain should put IS fighters on trial – US defence secretary

Defence and security correspondent @AliBunkallSKY The US defence secretary has said that the UK should take back Britons who joined Islamic State and put them on trial in this country. Speaking to journalists on his first official visit to the UK, new US Defence Secretary Dr Mark Esper said the situation where hundreds are being held in Kurdish camps is “untenable”.

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