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IS Beatle extremist could return to UK after serving terror sentence in US for torturing hostages

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IS Beatle extremist could return to UK after serving terror sentence in US for torturing hostages
IS Beatle extremist could return to UK after serving terror sentence in US for torturing hostages

 

A MEMBER of the bloodthirsty ISIS gang dubbed “The Beatles” could return to the UK as part of an unusual plea deal.

It comes after Alexanda Kotey, 37, known as ‘Ringo’ in the four-person terror cell, admitted all charges against him at a hearing in Virginia, US.

Kotey grew up in West London, and has been described as having a Ghanaian and Greek-Cypriot background.
Kotey grew up in West London, and has been described as having a Ghanaian and Greek-Cypriot background.Credit: Reuters
Kotey is one of the two members of the "The Beatles" left alive
Kotey is one of the two members of the “The Beatles” left aliveCredit: AP

Kotey, from Paddington, West London, pleaded guilty to helping ISIS torture and kill captives, including four Americans.

Under an agreement made with the prosecution, Kotey is expected to serve 15 years behind bars in the US before he is extradited to the UK.

However Britain would have to agree to accept Kotey, who would also have to plead guilty to further charges.

The move will likely be complicated by the fact the UK has stripped Kotey – as well as scores of other British ISIS suspects – of his citizenship.

Asked by the judge if he pleaded guilty to the eight counts facing him, the Westminster-born jihadi replied: “Yes.”

He was charged with hostage-taking resulting in death, conspiracy to murder, and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

Bethany Haines, whose father David was killed by the terror cell welcomed Kotey’s admission of guilt, but pleaded that he “give us the closure we desperately need and tell us what happened and where my dad’s remains are.”

The parents of the American victims, made the same request.

The Telegraph understands the UK Government would likely refuse any application by Kotey to return and that there is no intention to reinstate his citizenship. However, they could be pressured to do so by the US.

The Government had only allowed Kotey and fellow ISIS “Beatle” El Shafee ElSheikh to be tried in America on condition the US Attorney General agreed to drop the death penalty in the case.

He and fellow Londoner El Shafee Elsheikh – also allegedly part of the group – were captured trying to sneak out of the country as the IS caliphate crumbled in 2018.

There was no change of plea for Elsheikh yesterday, raising the possibility that Kotey may give evidence against his former fellow IS gang member.

PLEA FOR FATHER’S REMAINS

The pair are on trial for their involvement in the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and relief workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.

They were each charged with hostage-taking resulting in death, conspiracy to commit murder against U.S. citizens abroad, and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

Kotey faced a 24-page indictment with a lengthy list of tortures that he and Elsheikh were accused of inflicting on hostages.

It included electric shocks with a taser, forcing hostages to fight each other and 20-minute beatings with sticks and waterboarding.

The US had advised British authorities – who that its prosecutors would not seek the death penalty against Kotey or Elsheikh.

The group, including Mohammed Emwazi – or “Jihadi John” – was known for its savage cruelty, subjecting foreign hostages to beatings, torture and mock executions.

Emwazi appeared in a number of videos slaughtering hostages including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning. Accents heard in the clips gave the cell its name.

The terrorist died in a US drone strike in Syria in November 2015.

Aine Davis – who left the UK in 2013 to fight in Syria – is thought to have been the fourth member of the group.

He was jailed for seven-and-a-half years in Turkey in 2019 after being found guilty of being a member of a terrorist organisation.

HORRIFIC CRIMES

Kotey grew up in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, and has been described as having a Ghanaian and Greek-Cypriot background.

The jihadi, believed to be aged around 37, was a convert to Islam as a teenager.

It is not clear when he fled to Syria but his family said last year they were “deeply distressed” after he was unmasked as one of the gruesome foursome.

He is believed to have lived in West London until 2009 when he travelled to Gaza in an aid convoy.

In an interview with Sky News from a jail in Kurdish-controlled Syria, Kotey likened the execution of unarmed captives to coalition airstrikes, saying the victims were “collateral damage”.

They claimed to have joined Isis for “religious reasons”, with Elsheikh saying: “We are in no way justifying anything Islamic State did. It is not an obligation of me to justify or condemn.

“You being a British citizen, you don’t turn around when Britain commits some war crime and say ‘But I didn’t sign up for this’.”

MURDEROUS PAIR

The murderous pair were detained in North Syria by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in January 2018

The SDF originally arrested the duo after suspecting the two men were foreign fighters and handed them over to American Special Operations forces.

The Americans then confirmed their identities using fingerprints and other bio-metric measurements.

But in July 2018 it emerged in a leaked Home Office report, that the UK was dropping its requirement for assurances they would not be executed if found guilty – paving the way for the pair to face US justice.

Other documents say there would be no formal opposition to the men – who have been stripped of their British citizenship – being sent to Guantanamo without trial.

A week later it was reported El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey, spoke of their outrage of losing their right to be a UK citizen.

Speaking to an Associated Press journalist, Kotey moaned: “I found it strange that they could actually do that, revoke the citizenship of a person.

“I was born in the UK… My mother was born in the UK. I have a daughter there in the UK.”

In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel in August 2020, America’s attorney general William Barr said “time is of the essence” in seeking to prosecute the pair and “further delay is an injustice to the families of the victims”.

The decision could allow Britain to begin sharing evidence with federal prosecutors in the US for any potential case against El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey.

An earlier UK court ruling had blocked the sharing of evidence without US assurances the death penalty was off the table.

The pair were transferred to US custody October 2019.

Diane Foley, the mother of murdered ISIS hostage James Foley, speaks after the court hearing
Diane Foley, the mother of murdered ISIS hostage James Foley, speaks after the court hearingCredit: AP
Mohammed Emwazi - AKA Jihadi John - was the most infamous "Beatle"
Mohammed Emwazi – AKA Jihadi John – was the most infamous “Beatle”Credit: Rex Features
Aine Davis was jailed in Turkey in 2019 for belonging to a terror group

Aine Davis was jailed in Turkey in 2019 for belonging to a terror groupCredit: PA:Press Association
El Shafee Elsheikh was another member of the murderous group
El Shafee Elsheikh was another member of the murderous groupCredit: Rex
Alexanda Kotey, left, and El Shafee Elsheikh, who are among four British jihadis who made up a brutal Islamic State cell dubbed "The Beatles"
Alexanda Kotey, left, and El Shafee Elsheikh, who are among four British jihadis who made up a brutal Islamic State cell dubbed “The Beatles”Credit: AP:Associated Press

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