One of the “Beatles” of the jihadist group Islamic State sentenced to life in prison in the United States

One of the “Beatles” of the jihadist group Islamic State sentenced to life in prison in the United States

El Shafee el-Sheikh was sentenced to eight life terms for his involvement with the Islamic State’s “Beatles”.

The member of the “Beatles” of the Islamic State group is sentenced to life in prison in the United States. OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP

El Shafee el-Sheikh, a member of the cruel “Beatles” of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), a cell specializing in the capture, torture and execution of Western hostages, was sentenced on Friday to life in prison by a American court. The 34-year-old man, wearing a beard, large glasses and a mask, remained impassive as the decision was announced in a court in Alexandria, near the capital Washington.

El Shafee el-Sheikh’s actions were “horrific, barbaric, brutal, cruel and, of course, criminal,” federal judge T.S. Ellis said, while setting out his decision: eight concurrent life sentences for the murder of four Americans. His lawyers have indicated their intention to appeal.

He was arrested by Syrian Kurdish forces in 2018. He has since been found guilty in April by a popular jury, following a harrowing trial that exposed the sadism of the “Beatles” in broad daylight.
Another “Beatles” already doomed

A 12-person jury deliberated for less than six hours over two days before convicting him of his role in the deaths of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff as well as aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller. “This trial has exposed the atrocious crimes against human rights that you have committed,” said Diane Foley, the journalist’s mother, eight years to the day after IS broadcast the video showing his beheading. “Your hate crimes did not win out.”

El Shafee el-Sheikh was arrested along with another alleged Beatles member, Alexanda Kotey, a 38-year-old former British national. Both men had been handed over to US forces in Iraq and sent to the United States in 2020 to stand trial. Alexanda Kotey pleaded guilty in September 2021, and was sentenced to life in prison last April by the same judge, T.S. Ellis.

Another alleged Beatles member, Aine Davis, 38, was charged and brought before a British court last week in London after being deported from Turkey. The best-known of the group, Briton Mohammed Emwazi, alias “Jihadi John”, was killed by an American drone in Syria in 2015. He appeared in multiple videos showing throats cut.
propaganda videos

Active in Syria between 2012 and 2015, the four members of the “Beatles”, all radicalized in London, are accused of having supervised the detention of at least 27 journalists and humanitarian workers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand and Russia. The nickname “Beatles” had been given by Western hostages to this group of jihadists with a British accent.

This group had gained a sinister notoriety by staging the execution of captives in unbearable propaganda videos. At the trial of El Shafee el-Sheikh, ten former European and Syrian hostages had described the atrocities suffered at the hands of the “Beatles”, such as simulated drowning, electric shocks or mock executions.

This week, the British police revealed that mounting the case against the “Beatles” had been akin to building for ten years “a puzzle of very small pieces”. “We have followed a path of little bread crumbs, fragments in fact, from a huge amount of other investigations,” London police counter-terrorism chief Richard Smith told reporters on Wednesday. .

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