ISIS Beatles cell member plans to plead guilty to hostage abuse

WASHINGTON – A notorious British member of the Islamic State who faces federal charges for helping jail and torturing Western hostages i...


WASHINGTON – A notorious British member of the Islamic State who faces federal charges for helping jail and torturing Western hostages is preparing to plead guilty, according to a court notice filed Tuesday night.

A laconic record on the public record for the case against the man, Alexanda Kotey, announced the scheduling of a “change of plea hearing” for 5:30 p.m. Thursday before the judge in charge of the case, TS Ellis III of the Federal District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia. He had initially pleaded not guilty.

Mr Kotey was part of an ISIS cell of four Britons called “the Beatles”- a nickname given by their victims because of their accents – and known for their extreme brutality. Some of the group’s victims were beheaded for propaganda videos, including American journalists James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff. Their bodies have not been found.

Ali Soufan, a former FBI counterterrorism agent who has worked closely with the families of ISIS victims, said the change in advocacy suggested Mr. Kotey might be willing to provide details on what is happening. has passed.

“A plea deal means he’s probably cooperating,” said Soufan, who helped victims investigate what happened and lobbied the Trump-era Justice Department to prosecute. Mr Kotey and another captured British ISIS member El Shafee Elsheikh in civilian court. . “During our investigation, we discovered that Kotey was involved in every step of the hostage-taking. He knows what happened to them and what they went through in ISIS detention. Its cooperation should shed light on this point.

Raj Parekh, one of the prosecutors handling the case who is also overseeing her as acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, declined to comment. Geremy Kamens, the district’s federal public defender, who oversees the defense, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Kotey and Mr. Elsheikh were captured in Syria in 2018 by a Kurdish militia supported by the Americans. The US military took custody of it in 2019.

After a lengthy debate within the Trump administration over what to do with them – including whether to hand them over to the Iraqis or take them to the Guantánamo Bay War Prison, Cuba – they were taken to Virginie to face charges in civil court. Last year.

Both initially pleaded not guilty. Since then, the case has been at a preliminary hearing. Mr Elsheikh apparently did not change his plea.

Another member of the former British cell – Mohammed Emwazi, better known as Jihadi John – was killed in an airstrike in 2015 in Syria. Mr. Emwazi allegedly killed Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff, as well as Pierre Kassig, a humanitarian worker.

The fourth member, Aine Davis, was jailed in Turkey for terrorism.

Adam goldman contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: ISIS Beatles cell member plans to plead guilty to hostage abuse
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