After being convicted of his involvement in the killing of four American hostages in Syria, a member of the IS “Beatles,” has been sentenced to life imprisonment
El Shafee Elsheikh (34), a former British citizen, was convicted in the US of four counts each of hostage-taking as well as four counts for conspiracy to murder in April.
For each of the eight charges, which were due to run simultaneously, he was sentenced to a life imprisonment in Alexandria, Virginia.
The deaths of US journalists James Foley, Steven Sotloff and American aid workers Kayla Mueller were the focus of the convictions.
Ms Mueller was the only one who was killed by beheadings that were captured and distributed online.
Other westerners were also killed by the Islamic State cell, including British volunteers Alan Henning and David Haines.
These 26 hostages were taken prisoner by the Islamic State group between 2012 and 2015. Large swathes in Syria and Iraq were under their control at the time.
Because of their English accents, the detainees gave the cell its Beatles nickname.
Judge Thomas Selby Ellis addressed Elsheikh and said that his behavior was “horrific”, barbaric, brutal, callous, and barbaric”.
“This is an important episode in the history our country and our justice systems.”
During the trial, Elsheikh was described to the jury as Ringo by prosecutors. He “played central role in a brutal hostage taking scheme.”
He was described as the guard principal in the group. Hostages claim that he performed most of the torture.
Although he was facing a possible death sentence, American prosecutors had advised British officials previously that they would not pursue the death penalty.
“Your hatred overtook you humanity”
Some of the loved ones of the victims were present at the Alexandria court to give statements, including James Foley’s mother Diane who stated that it was the eight year anniversary of her son’s passing.
Elsheikh was told by her: “You too have been lost, your freedom, citizenship, and family contact.” All of us have lost.
Jim would also like you to know that your hateful crimes didn’t win. James Wright Foley is still with us.”
She also said to him, “This trial has exposed the horrendous human rights violations you committed while being part of Isis.” “Your hatred has overtaken your humanity.”
She said, “I pity your choice of hatred and succumbing to false theology.”
She called it a “hollow win” after she reacted to the sentencing outside of court.
She said, “Our country lost four of the very best citizens. We families lost our loved ones for ever.”
Ms Foley also called for the US to do more to release American hostages in other countries.
She stated to reporters that “currently we have more than67 of our US citizens wrongfully detained, held hostage overseas simply because they are American.”
“I urge our president Biden urgently to use his shrewdest negotiation skills to quickly bring these innocent Americans back home, lest they suffer the same fate as our children and grandchildren.” Let us learn from our mistakes.
Raj Parekh representing the relatives of victims said Elsheikh was “defiantly repentant and unrepentant”. He stated that the jihadist did not make any effort to meet with the families.
Victim’s brother: “I offer Elsheikh’s forgiveness”
Mike Haines, David Haines’ brother, said that the judgement “provides another victory over the hateful ideologies and extremism”
He said that, “while the verdict does not provide any consolation for David’s life, it sends out a powerful message of encouragement to those who are tempted to follow this destructive path.”
“I stand firm to the April words that I spoke. These men’s actions caused immense damage to many, including my brother David. But I won’t let it consume me.
“I offer Elsheikh my sincere forgiveness and hope that he uses the time he is in prison to recognize the pain he has caused.”
Elsheikh, a Sudanese child refugee, arrived in the UK and settled in White City (west London). In 2018, Elsheikh’s British citizenship was stripped.
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Alexanda Kotey (also from London) was sentenced to a life term earlier in the year.
In 2015, US drone strikes in Syria killed Mohammed Emwazi (also known as Jihadi John), the Ringleader.
Aine Davis, the fourth alleged Beatles member, was this month arrested with terrorist offences upon his arrival at Luton airport from Turkey.
According to US officials, Kayla Mueller was repeatedly raped by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at the time. This happened before she died in Syria.
Carl Mueller, her father, stated that they continue to seek the truth because we don’t know for certain.
“We want her to come home. We want her to be on American soil.
From 2014 to 2017, Islamic State was at its peak power and ruled over millions of people. It claimed responsibility for or instigated attacks in dozens cities all around the globe.
Al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate over 25% of Syria and Iraq in 2014. He was then killed by US troops in Syria in October 2019, when his rule had collapsed.