Two ISIS ‘Beatles’ headed to US to stand trial for torture and beheadings of American hostages
The two notorious British Islamic State terrorists known as the “Beatles,” who allegedly had a hand in the torture and beheadings of U.S. hostages in Syria, will be coming to the United States in the coming weeks to face trial, Fox News has learned.
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are currently in U.S. military custody in Iraq. They were captured by a Kurdish-led militia in early 2018 but brought to Iraq last October.
The men have been accused of taking part in the kidnappings of international hostages, including journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and U.S. aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.
NBC News was the first to report on their transfers to the United States.
Kotey and Elsheikh have admitted their involvement in the kidnapping, sexual assault and death of Mueller in 2015.
The men, in a videotape obtained by NBC News, also admitted to having beaten Foley, who was gruesomely beaten on camera by the leader of the “Beatles,” Mohammed Emwazi, in 2014.
Sotloff and Kassig were also beheaded as were British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning.
Emwazi was killed by Hellfire missiles fired from a CIA drone in 2015.
The hostages purportedly nicknamed Emwazi, Kotey and Elsheikh the Beatles because of their British accents. The fourth member of the terror cell, Aine Lesley Davis, was sentenced in 2017 to 7 1/2 years in a Turkish prison.
U.S. and British authorities have linked the group to 27 killings.
The Justice Department had planned to prosecute Elsheikh and Kotey in Northern Virginia for some time but the proceedings were delayed because the evidence the British had – which is believed to be essential to the case against the two men – had been held up following a legal challenge made on behalf of one of the alleged terrorist’s mothers. She challenged the legality of the British government cooperating with the U.S.
The primary issue was that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions chose not to make assurances that U.S. prosecutors would forgo the death penalty. Britain does not have the death penalty and such assurances are routinely made by the U.S. when working with the British criminal justice system.
In March, the British Supreme Court blocked the government from sharing evidence with the U.S.
In August, Attorney General William Barr promised to take the death penalty off the table. Last month, the United Kingdom High Court reversed its ruling and the evidence transfer began.
“We are pleased with the U.K High Court’s decision and we are grateful that the British government has passed its evidence to us and confirmed its commitment to cooperate with our efforts to investigate and prosecute the two ISIS terrorists currently being held in U.S. military custody,” Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesperson said. “We remain committed to holding these defendants accountable and obtaining justice for the victims of their terrorist activity.”
Fox News’ Jake Gibson and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.