London – Today’s reported killing of Mohammed Emwazi in Raqqa by US-UK air strike presents more questions than it does answers.


CAGE reaffirms its opposition to extrajudicial killing of any kind. 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 would echo the comments of Diane Foley, mother of James, when she said “All people in law enforcement have to be very aware of people’s rights and respect during a very difficult situation…People have the need for respect, no matter who they are and where they are.”

Raqqa residents reported 14 airstrikes last night. It is hard to envisage that Emwazi was the only casualty. Killing civilians has become part and parcel of air strikes.

CAGE expresses sympathy with the families of Mohammed Emwazi’s victims. His killing means key crucial questions around his joining ISIS, as well as the kidnapping and killing of hostages remain unanswered.

Shirley Sotloff, mother of American ISIS victim Steven Sotloff, said “If they got him great, but it doesn’t bring my son back.”

Diane Foley is also right in her thoughtful and dignified response. Where she remarks that the “huge effort to go after this deranged man filled with hate when they can’t make half that effort to save the hostages while these young Americans were still alive.”

The responsibility for the murders of the hostages lies firmly with Emwazi and his ISIS handlers. His journey to becoming ‘Jihadi John’ however, lay in Britain, as correspondence released by CAGE clearly shows.


Dr Adnan Siddiqui, Director of CAGE, said:

“Killing Emwazi is evidence that the US and UK do not consider the families of hostages in their actions. This is backed up by reports that US authorities threatened families if they negotiated payment of ransom money.”

“Emwazi’s execution of defenceless hostages was inexcusable. But all avenues that led him to that point need to be investigated.”

“CAGE’s repeated efforts and offers to negotiate for the release of Alan Henning were obstructed and squandered by the UK government and serious questions remain regarding these failures.”

“CAGE has acknowledged mistakes were made in our handling of the Emwazi affair, but we reiterate our call for a full inquiry into what caused Emwazi to feel so alienated in the UK that he felt his only option was to leave. Such an enquiry is essential if we are to understand and put an end to individuals being drawn into political violence.”

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)