ISIS ‘Beatles’ member Alexanda Amon Kotey pleads guilty to American killings

0
34
ISIS 'Beatles' member Alexanda Amon Kotey pleads guilty to American killings

A member of the British-born ISIS executioners dubbed “The Beatles,” responsible for brutally kidnapping and beheading American hostages from 2012 to 2015, including American journalist James Foley, pleaded guilty on Thursday, facing a minimum sentence of life imprisonment with no chance of parole.

Alexanda Amon Kotey, 37, is one of two British nationals brought to the US last year to face charges connected to torture and beheading Western hostages in Syria, with U.S. assurance to U.K. officials that they would not face the death penalty.

Kotey admitted his involvement with the deaths of four American hostages — journalist James Foley, journalist Steven Sotloff and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller — as well as other European and Japanese nationals.

He pleaded guilty to a total of eight charges in the U.S. Federal District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

“I accept I will be perceived as a radical who holds extremist views,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Kotey claimed to have been involved in the deaths of Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig (pictured) and Kayla Mueller.
Kotey claimed to have been involved in the deaths of Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig (pictured) and Kayla Mueller.
YouTube

As part of the plea, Kotey also accepts life imprisonment as his sentence in the U.K., even if he were to be given a lesser sentence there, to be served either in the U.S. or Britain.

It also requires him to speak with authorities about the time he spent in ISIS.

Additionally, he is required to meet with his victims’ families upon request. 

Syrian Democratic Forces captured Alexanda Amon Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh in January 2018.
Syrian Democratic Forces captured Alexanda Amon Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh in January 2018.
AP

Family members of all four of his victims were present at the hearing on Thursday, AP reported. They will have an opportunity to speak at Kotey’s formal sentencing on March 4.

The other Brit in American custody, Shafee Elsheikh, is scheduled for a trial in January. Kotey will not be required to testify against Elsheikh, per the plea deal.

Before their arrests, they admitted in interviews that they were part of the high-profile death squad dubbed “the Beatles.”

El Shafee Elsheikh (left) is scheduled to stand trial in January after he pled not guilty in 2020.
El Shafee Elsheikh (left) is scheduled to stand trial in January after he pled not guilty in 2020.
Syrian Democratic Forces/AFP via

The two were captured in Syria in 2018 by the U.S.-supported Syrian Democratic Forces while trying to escape to Turkey.

The remaining “Beatles,” so named for their British accents, include Mohammed Emwazi — also known as “Jihadi John” — who was killed in a 2015 drone strike. Another man serving a prison sentence in Turkey.

Raj Parekh, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and also a member of the prosecution team on the Elsheikh case, lauded the victims’ families for their “courage” through the trial proceedings.

“Their resilience, courage, and perseverance have ensured that terror will never have the last word. The justice, fairness, and humanity that this defendant received in the United States stand in stark contrast to the cruelty, inhumanity, and indiscriminate violence touted by the terrorist organization he espoused,” Parekh said in a statement to AP.

Diane Foley, James Foley’s mother, said she was grateful for the conviction.

“This accountability is essential if our country wants to discourage hostage-taking,” she said, according to AP.

With wires

Source link