British ISIS ‘Beatle’ To Plead Guilty in US Court

By Web Staff
Web Staff
Web Staff
September 1, 2021Updated: September 1, 2021

One of the so-called ISIS Beatles, who is accused of conspiring to torture and behead hostages after joining the terrorist group will plead guilty when he appears in a U.S. court this week.

A change of plea hearing for Alexanda Amon Kotey has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 2 in a U.S. District Court in Alexandria, according to Federal court records.

Kotey and another British man, El Shafee Elsheikh, were brought to the United States last year to face charges under an extradition agreement that means they cannot face the death penalty even if found guilty.

Court documents do not indicate the specific charge or charges to which Kotey is expected to plead.

Along with two others, they were dubbed “the Beatles” by their captives because of their British accents, as they became a symbol of jihadis radicalised in the West.

The indictment charges them in connection with the deaths of four American hostages—journalist James Foley, journalist Steven Sotloff, and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller—as well as European and Japanese nationals who were also held captive.

Nothing in the court records indicates that Elsheikh has reached a plea deal.

Raj Parekh, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and also a member of the prosecution team on the Kotey and Elsheikh cases, declined to comment.

Geremy Kamens, a federal public defender who represents Kotey, also declined to comment.

Prosecutors say the men worked closely with a chief spokesman for ISIS who reported to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a U.S. military operation last year.

A third Beatle, Mohammed Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John,” was killed in a 2015 drone strike. A fourth member is serving a prison sentence in Turkey.

Kotey and Elsheikh were radicalised in London before they left for Syria in 2012, according to the indictment, which describes them as “leading participants in a brutal hostage-taking scheme.”

The indictment accuses Kotey and Elsheikh of participating in the kidnapping of Foley and other captives.

In July, prosecutors described the pair as “principal offenders” in the captivity of the four American hostages.

Assuming Thursday’s plea hearing goes forward as scheduled, Kotey and prosecutors would submit a statement of facts that will spell out in at least some detail the specific actions that he took.

The two were captured in Syria in 2018 while trying to escape to Turkey.

The indictment describes the execution of a Syrian prisoner in 2014 and says the two forced their Western hostages to watch.

Kotey instructed the hostages to kneel while watching the execution and holding signs pleading for their release. Emwazi shot the prisoner in the back of the head while Elsheikh videotaped the execution.

Elsheikh is scheduled to go on trial in January.

PA contributed to this report.