ISIS ‘Beatles’ member to plead guilty to hostage scheme in Syria

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ISIS 'Beatles' member to plead guilty to hostage scheme in Syria

A member of the notorious ISIS execution squad dubbed “The Beatles” is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday to charges related to the “brutal hostage-taking scheme” in Syria, court records show.

Alexanda Amon Kotey, 37, is one of two British nationals brought to the US last year to face charges connected to torture and behead Western hostages in Syria, including American journalist James Foley.

The Specially Designated Global Terrorist is now scheduled to appear in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday for a “change of plea hearing,” federal court records show.

Alexanda Amon Kotey, a former ISIS executioner, is set to plead guilty to charges related to the capture and killing of Western hostages in Syria.
Alexanda Amon Kotey, a former ISIS executioner, is set to plead guilty to charges related to the capture and killing of Western hostages in Syria.
AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File

The listing does not, however, detail the specific charge or charges to which Kotey is expected to admit. The Justice Department previously promised not to seek the death penalty, in order to secure his extradition.

The indictment accuses him of a “brutal hostage-taking scheme” that involved “kidnapping and torturing American citizens and nationals of other countries” as part of a “propaganda campaign” for ISIS.

An ISIS executioner about to kill journalist James Foley for a video.
An ISIS executioner about to kill journalist James Foley for a video.
Reuters

They include the deaths of four Americans — journalist James Foley, journalist Steven Sotloff and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller — as well as European and Japanese nationals.

Kayla Mueller, an aid worker in the Middle East, was one of the hostages killed by the ISIS members.
Kayla Mueller, an aid worker in the Middle East, was one of the hostages killed by the ISIS members.
EPA

Kotey was charged alongside fellow British citizen El Shafee Elsheikh. Nothing in the court records indicates a plea is being changed by Elsheikh, who is scheduled to go on trial in January.

Before their arrests, they admitted in interviews that they were part of the high-profile squad dubbed “the Beatles” because of their British accents. They also whined about how hard it would be to get a fair trial.

Mohammed Emwazi — who became known as “Jihadi John” — was killed in a 2015 drone strike. A fourth member is serving a prison sentence in Turkey.

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

Aid worker Peter Kassig was also killed by ISIS members.
Aid worker Peter Kassig was also killed by ISIS members.
AP/Reuters

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 comment Tuesday evening.

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

With Post wires

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