IS ‘Beatle’ found guilty of hostage-taking and conspiracy to murder

US News

IS “Beatle” El Shafee Elsheikh has been found guilty of hostage-taking and conspiring to murder journalists and aid workers in Syria.

The 33-year-old former British national was found to be part of an Islamic State terrorist cell that operated in Iraq and Syria, and whose members were nicknamed “The Beatles” because of their UK accents.

The group caused outrage around the world after releasing videos of the executions of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

US and British authorities say the IS Beatles were responsible for killing 27 people, including British volunteers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.

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The group’s ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, nicknamed Jihadi John, was killed back in a 2015 drone strike, while a third member, Alexanda Kotey, is already serving time behind bars.

Another man, Aine Davis, currently in jail in Turkey, is not considered by the US Justice Department to be part of the cell.

During opening statements, the court in Virginia heard how Elsheikh and his counterparts were “utterly terrifying” and held more than Western hostages in a prison called “the desert”.

More on Islamic State

Victims were subject to “unrelenting and unpredictable” abuse, prosecutors said, adding the perpetrators “seemed to enjoy beating” them.

They were given “dead legs” and placed in “stress positions” while being “threatened with murder”, the jury was told.

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