Nepal: Bodies of four Everest climbers not from this year’s climbing season

In this file photo, mountaineers walk past the Hillary Step while pushing for the summit of Mount Everest as they climb the south face of the mountain from Nepal. (AFP)
Updated 25 May 2017
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Nepal: Bodies of four Everest climbers not from this year’s climbing season

KATMANDU: Nepal said on Thursday that four bodies found in tents at the highest camp on Mount Everest were not of mountaineers from this year’s climbing season.
Nepali sherpas said they had seen the bodies in two tents on the South Col, at 8,000 meters (26,246 feet), and a newspaper quoted the sherpas as saying that two were foreigners.
But two days after the discovery, Nepal’s Tourism Department said it had checked with all the expeditions on the world’s highest mountain and none had reported any of their climbers missing.
“I can categorically confirm that these bodies are not of the climbers from the current session,” Durga Dutta Dhakal, a director at the tourism department in charge of climbing, said.
The conflicting information has renewed calls for better tracking of people on the mountain as well as screening of climbers and their guides to ensure that only people with experience attempt the 8,850 meter summit.
Dhakal said so far five climbers had died while attempting Everest from the Nepali side during the current season, in addition to one climbing the Chinese route.
“No one (else) has gone missing. But I am not in a position to confirm the identity of these climbers, which team they belonged to and which year they died,” he said.
More than 5,000 climbers have scaled Mount Everest since it was first climbed by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Nearly 300 mountaineers have died.
Many of the victims remain on the mountain, entombed in snow, as it its too difficult to bring their bodies down.
Mingma Sherpa, the head of the Seven Summit Treks group whose sherpas found the four bodies while they were on their way to retrieve the body of a Slovak climber, said he had only reported what his men found.
“I disclosed what our rescuers saw at Camp Four on Wednesday. I have no details about their nationalities, or circumstances leading to their deaths. It now appears that the bodies could be of those climbers who died during old expeditions.”
Nepal has issued permits to 371 foreign climbers this season, up from last year’s 281, at $11,000 apiece, a major source of income for the cash-strapped country.


UK court rejects case brought by mother of Daesh 'Beatle' held in Syria

Updated 18 January 2019
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UK court rejects case brought by mother of Daesh 'Beatle' held in Syria

  • El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are being held by Kurdish militia after being captured in Syria last year
  • United States wants to extradite them and Britain has said it will not stand in the way

LONDON: The mother of one of the British Daesh militants suspected of murdering western hostages, lost a legal challenge on Friday that it was wrong for Britain to assist a US investigation which could lead to them facing the death penalty.
Britons El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of a notorious group of British fighters nicknamed “The Beatles” — are being held by Kurdish militia after being captured in Syria last year.
The United States wants to extradite them and Britain has said it will not stand in the way of any future US prosecution that would seek the death penalty, waiving a long-standing objection to executions.
Elsheikh’s mother, Maha El Gizouli, had sought a judicial review, saying it was unlawful for Britain’s interior minister to provide mutual legal assistance in a case which could lead to prosecutions for offenses which carried the death penalty.
Her lawyers said the minister’s actions were flawed, inconsistent with Britain’s unequivocal opposition to the death penalty and violated her son’s human rights. However, London’s High Court disagreed and dismissed her claim.
“My priority has always been to ensure we deliver justice for the victims’ families and that the individuals suspected of these sickening crimes face prosecution as quickly as possible,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.
“Our long-standing opposition to the death penalty has not changed. Any evidence shared with the US in this case must be for the express purpose of progressing a federal prosecution.”
The most notorious of the four of the so-called Beatles was Mohammed Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John,” who is believed to have been killed in a US-British missile strike in 2015.
He became a public face of Daesh and appeared in videos showing the murders of US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and other hostages.
“This group of terrorists is associated with some of the most barbaric crimes committed during the conflict in Syria,” Graeme Biggar, Director of National Security at Britain’s interior ministry, said in a written statement to the court.
Britain has said it does not want the men repatriated to the United Kingdom and their British citizenship has been withdrawn.
British prosecutors concluded they did not have the evidence to launch their own case against the men but US officials then expressed frustration with the British stance of seeking an assurance that US prosecutors would not call for the death penalty, court documents showed.
However, last June, British ministers and senior officials decided the best way of ensuring a prosecution and to protect US relations was to seek no such assurance in this case.
That decision provoked criticism from opposition lawmakers and from some in the government’s own party who accused ministers of secretly abandoning Britain’s opposition to the death penalty.