A federal court in the United States sentenced a member of the group of kidnappers from the Islamic State (ISIS), nicknamed “The Beatles,” Friday, April 29, to life imprisonment. Alexanda Kotey, 38, a former Briton, pleaded guilty in September, pleading responsible for the deaths of four American hostages in Syria and the kidnapping and torture of about 20 Westerners.
A member of this cell, al-Shafi’i al-Sheikh, whom Syrian Kurdish forces arrested with him in 2018, was also convicted in April after a brutal trial that exposed their masters in broad daylight. Judgment will be pronounced on August 12.
The two men, whose death sentences have been ruled out due to an agreement with London, were present Friday at court in Alexandria near Washington, where relatives of the victims were able to speak to them directly.
“You kidnapped, tortured and participated in the killing of good and innocent people, and now you have to live with this all your life.”The British released Bethany Haines, the daughter of one of the victims. “You both lost!” »She added the young woman, whose father, David Haines, an aid worker, was killed by third member of the Beatles, Mohamed Emwazi, who was killed in a 2015 drone attack.
The hostages gave this nickname to the three jihadists who grew up and became radicalized in London because of their British accent. They left for Syria in 2012. Alexanda Kotey explained in a statement that he joined ISIS to fight against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad believing that “The Islamic concept of armed jihad was of great value and a legitimate cause.”.
Alexanda Kotey and Al-Shafei Al-Sheikh were extradited to the United States from Iraq in October 2020 to stand trial in the United States. They were captured in January 2018 by Syrian Kurdish forces and then handed over to the US military in Iraq.
Active in Syria from 2012 to 2015, they oversaw the arrests of at least twenty-seven journalists and humanitarian workers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand, and Russia. Dozens were executed and their deaths were depicted in ISIS propaganda videos that shocked the world.
Among their victims was the American journalist Stephen Sotloff. On Friday, his mother, Shirley, repeatedly urged jihadists to do so “Look at her [les] eyes “as described ‘Unimaginable effect’ from their actions on his family. Stephen’s death was like a horror movie that was broadcast live around the world (…) For our family, it doesn’t happen on screen but in our heads every day.”I explained to them hoping they would “Think every day of the rest of their lives”.
Marsha Mueller, whose daughter Kayla mysteriously died after she was a sex slave to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, wished they could help her understand what happened to her daughter: We learned certain things, stories of rape and beatings and horror and horror. But I want to know the whole truth, even if it’s hard to hear (…) I need to experience this horror with her. »
The alleged leader of this jihadist cell, Muhammad Emwazi, nicknamed “Jihadi John”, who was distinguished by his appearance in all-black clothes and butcher’s knife in hand, on propaganda videos, was killed during a US bombing of Syria last November. 2015. The fourth “Beatle”, Ayn Davis, is being held in Turkey. He was convicted of terrorism in 2017.