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UK wants two Islamic State fighters to face trial in most appropriate country - May's spokeswoman

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 20, 2018. Charles McQuillan/Pool via Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May wants two British Islamic State militants to be tried in the most appropriate jurisdiction, her spokeswoman said, after a newspaper reported that the government will send them for trial in the United States.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has dropped the government’s blanket opposition to the death penalty in order to allow two men to be sent to the United States, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are alleged to have been members of a unit responsible for killing a series of high-profile western captives.

“It’s a long-standing position of the government to oppose the death penalty ... as a matter of principle,” the spokeswoman told reporters.

“We are continuing to engage with the U.S. government on this issue and our priority is to make sure that the these men face criminal prosecution. We want to make sure they face justice in the most appropriate jurisdiction which maximises the chances of a successful prosecution.”

Reporting By Elizabeth Piper. Writing by Andrew MacAskill