Now in its second week, the trial of a self-confessed ISIS terrorist in Alexandria, Va., has revealed harrowing details about the terrorist group’s brutal schemes to kidnap, torture, and kill foreign nationals, including American journalists and aid workers.
El Shafee Elsheikh, a British man born in Sudan, is the most high-profile ISIS fighter to stand trial in the United States. He’s accused of being part of the notoriously cruel group of ISIS jihadists known as the “Beatles,” a nickname used by their captives because of their British accents.
Federal prosecutors accuse Elsheikh, 33, of assisting in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of four Americans — journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig — as well as several Britons and captives from other countries between 2012 and 2015.
Elsheikh faces life in prison if convicted on the eight charges he faces. He and fellow “Jihadi Beatle” Alexanda Kotey were captured by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in 2018 as they attempted to flee to Turkey with ISIS territorial control in Iraq and Syria collapsing.
In October 2020, both men were brought to Virginia to face trial following negotiations between the U.S. and U.K., which delayed the transfer until U.S. authorities agreed not to pursue the death penalty. Kotey pleaded guilty in Alexandria last year.
Elsheikh had originally traveled from England, where he was raised, to Syria in 2012, according to court documents. He first joined al Qaeda before signing up with ISIS. As a member of ISIS,
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