Terror ‘Beatle’ faces life sentence

ALEXANDRIA, United States (AFP) — A member of the notorious Islamic State kidnap-and-murder cell known as the “Beatles,” is to be sentenced in a United States court on Friday for the deaths of four American hostages in Syria.

El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison after being convicted in Alexandria, Virginia, in April of hostage-taking, conspiracy to murder US citizens and supporting a terrorist organization.

The grueling two-week trial of the former British national, which featured emotional testimony from former hostages and parents of the victims, was the most significant prosecution of an IS militant in the US.

The 12-person federal jury deliberated for less than six hours over two days before finding Elsheikh guilty for his role in the deaths of four Americans — journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.

Elsheikh and another former “Beatle,” Alexanda Amon Kotey, were captured by a Kurdish militia in Syria in January 2018 and handed over to US forces in Iraq.
They were flown to the US in 2020 to face trial.

Kotey, 38, pleaded guilty in September 2021 and was sentenced to life in prison in April by US District Court Judge T.S. Ellis, who will also deliver the sentence on Friday against Elsheikh.

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