Islamic State ‘Beatle’ responsible of all prices in US hostage deaths

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ALEXANDRIA: El Shafee Elsheikh, a member of the infamous Islamic State kidnap-and-murder cell referred to as the “Beatles,” was discovered responsible of all prices on Thursday (Apr 14) for the deaths of 4 American hostages in Syria.

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A jury convicted Elsheikh, 33, a former British nationwide, of all eight counts after a two-week trial, probably the most vital prosecution of an IS member in the US.

Elsheikh was charged with hostage-taking, conspiracy to homicide US residents – journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and support staff Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller – and supporting a terrorist organisation.

“This can be a day that we did not want bombs or bullets to deliver justice,” mentioned James Foley’s mom Diane, who fought tirelessly to attempt to safe her son’s launch. “I actually really feel that justice prevailed.”

Kayla Mueller’s father additionally welcomed the sweeping responsible verdicts.

“All of us noticed the American justice system do what it does finest,” mentioned Carl Mueller, who alongside along with his spouse, Marsha, attended the grueling trial in US District Courtroom in Alexandria close to the capital Washington.

The 12-person jury deliberated for a complete of round six hours over two days earlier than delivering the decision.

Elsheikh didn’t show any seen response because the responsible findings have been learn however a number of members of the households of the slain American hostages who have been within the public gallery dabbed at their eyes.

Elsheikh and one other former “Beatle”, Alexanda Amon Kotey, 38, have been captured by a Kurdish militia in Syria in January 2018 and handed over to US forces in Iraq.

They have been flown to the US in 2020 to face trial. Kotey pleaded responsible in September 2021 and is dealing with life in jail.

Elsheikh, who was stripped of his citizenship by Britain, additionally faces a possible life sentence.

“The sentence he will get might be worse than a dying sentence,” Carl Mueller mentioned.

‘LOATHSOME’

Elsheikh’s defence legal professional, Nina Ginsberg, had argued that whereas Elsheikh could certainly have been an IS fighter, prosecutors had not proved he really was a “Beatle”.

Ginsberg mentioned the “Beatles” have been answerable for “brutal” and “loathsome” acts however insisted Elsheikh was not one in every of them.

Apart from the deaths of the American hostages, Elsheikh and the opposite “Beatles” are suspected of involvement within the kidnapping in Syria of some 20 different journalists and reduction staff from Europe, Russia and Japan.

In the course of the trial, prosecutors performed media interviews for the jury throughout which Elsheikh acknowledged having interactions with among the hostages.

Within the interviews performed after his seize in Syria, Elsheikh admitted taking e-mail addresses and proof of life questions from the hostages and to even bodily beating them.

Ginsberg mentioned Elsheikh was a “damaged man” at the moment and solely made the admissions to keep away from being despatched to Iraq, the place he would have confronted a abstract trial and execution.

He wished to be despatched to Britain or the US “the place he may get a good trial”, she mentioned.

‘BRUTAL LEGACY’

Nicolas Henin, a former French hostage who testified on the trial to his harrowing remedy in captivity, mentioned following the decision that he was “grateful to the American justice system for having organised this trial.”

“A terrorist crime opens a gaping wound in a society,” Henin mentioned. “Solely justice can deliver closure to such a monstrous chapter.”

“It doesn’t deliver again the lifeless, it doesn’t heal all of the ache, however it soothes,” he mentioned.

Foley, Sotloff and Kassig have been beheaded by “Beatle” Mohamed Emwazi, referred to as “Jihadi John”, and movies of their deaths have been launched by IS for propaganda functions.

Mueller was initially held by the “Beatles” however then was turned over to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who reportedly raped her repeatedly.

IS introduced Mueller’s dying in February 2015 and mentioned she was killed in a Jordanian airstrike, a declare that was disputed by US authorities.

Baghdadi died throughout a US particular forces raid in 2019. Emwazi was killed by a US drone in Syria in 2015.

In his closing argument, prosecutor Raj Parekh advised the jury the federal government had proved that Elsheikh, Kotey and Emwazi “grew up collectively, radicalised collectively, fought as high-ranking IS fighters collectively and tortured and terrorized hostages collectively”.

“What these horrific crimes left behind is a legacy of brutal killings and shattered households,” Parekh mentioned.

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