Cage director Asim Qureshi
Cage research director Asim QureshiGetty

Amnesty International has said that it is "highly unlikely" to take part in joint campaigns in the future with Cage, the organisation which attracted criticism last week for describing Islamic State militant Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, as "beautiful" and "extremely gentle".

Responding to criticism on BBC Radio 4's Today programme by the former director of Amnesty's gender unit Gita Sahgal, who was forced out after criticising the organisation's links with Cage, deputy director Steven Crawshaw admitted that the rights group has signed joint letters with Cage in the past.

When asked if Amnesty would do so again, he said "I think it highly unlikely in the current circumstances of seeing the kind of public statements that are being made [by Cage].

"Amnesty International has been one of the key organisations documenting appalling crimes of IS and indeed of other groups that have killed civilians. At the same time we were always standing up for the rule of law and against all the abuses we saw after 9/11."

Sahgal blasted Amnesty as having "damaged the cause of human rights culture".

"I think immense damage has been done to Amnesty not least because they won't come clean about their association with Cage [...].

"But the truth is whether they are a loose embrace with them or a tight coalition they have taken their research from them, they have shared logos with them, they have produced briefing papers together, signed letters to the government together, that is working with the organisation," said Sahgal, who went on to found the Centre for Secular Space.

In a press conference held on the day IS militant Jihadi John, who has beheaded a series of foreign hostages in propaganda videos, was unmasked as west Londoner Emwazi, Cage research director Asim Qureshi said that harassment from UK security services was responsible for his radicalisation.

Video footage subsequently emerged of Qureshi allegedly calling for jihad to be waged in Afghanistan and Iraq in a protest outside the US embassy in London in 2006.

Cage has been asked to comment.

On its website, it claims it has been the target of "irrational vilification" since last week's statements about Emwazi, and has posted messages of support it has received.