ISIS member pleads guilty in U.S. court to helping torture, kill hostages, including Americans

A member of the British ISIS terrorist group dubbed the “Beatles” pleaded guilty in a U.S. courtroom on Thursday to helping the Islamic State militant group torture and murder captives in Syria, including four Americans.

Alexanda Kotey pleaded guilty to all charges against him in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Authorities said he and another British ISIS member, El Shafee Elsheikh, were involved in the kidnappings of international hostages, including U.S. aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig and U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Kotey and Elsheikh were each charged with hostage-taking resulting in death, conspiracy to commit murder against U.S. citizens abroad, and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

Prosecutors have said both men could face life in prison. As part of his plea agreement, Kotey must have meetings with the family members of the murdered hostages. After he has served 15 years in the U.S., the U.K. will be allowed to try him. Even if received a lesser sentence in a British court, his agreement requires him to spend life behind bars.

According to the indictment of Kotey and Elsheikh, the two men were “leading participants in a brutal hostage-taking scheme” from 2012 to 2015 and “engaged in a prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence against hostages.” Prosecutors for the Eastern District of Virginia said the two men inflicted pain, suffering and cruelty, including forced witnessing of murders, mock executions and shocks to the body with an electrical device [NBC News].


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