Politics|Member of ISIS ‘Beatles’ Cell Plans to Plead Guilty successful Abuse of Hostages
An upcoming change-of-plea proceeding for Alexanda Kotey suggests helium is cooperating with prosecutors and could supply details astir victims.
Aug. 31, 2021, 10:58 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — A notorious British subordinate of the Islamic State who is facing national charges implicit accusations that helium helped jailhouse and tortured Western hostages is preparing to plead guilty, according to a tribunal announcement filed precocious Tuesday.
A terse filing successful the nationalist docket for the lawsuit against the man, Alexanda Kotey, announced the scheduling of a “change-of-plea hearing” for 5:30 p.m. Thursday earlier the justice overseeing the case, T.S. Ellis III of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He had initially pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Kotey was portion of an ISIS compartment of 4 Britons called “the Beatles” — a nickname bestowed by their victims due to the fact that of their accents — and known for their utmost brutality. Some of the group’s victims were beheaded for propaganda videos, including the American journalists James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff. Their bodies person not been found.
Ali Soufan, a erstwhile F.B.I. counterterrorism cause who has been moving intimately with families of ISIS victims, said the alteration of plea suggested that Mr. Kotey mightiness beryllium consenting to supply details astir what happened.
“A plea statement means helium is apt cooperating,” said Mr. Soufan, who has helped victims analyse what happened and lobbied the Trump-era Justice Department to prosecute Mr. Kotey and different captured British ISIS member, El Shafee Elsheikh, successful civilian court. “During our investigation, we recovered that Kotey was progressive astatine each signifier of the hostage taking. He knows what happened to them and what they endured successful ISIS custody. His practice should shed airy connected this.”
Raj Parekh, 1 of the prosecutors connected the lawsuit who is besides present overseeing it arsenic the acting U.S. lawyer for the Eastern District of Virginia, declined to comment. Geremy Kamens, the national nationalist defender for the district, who is overseeing the defense, did not respond to a petition for comment.
Mr. Kotey and Mr. Elsheikh were captured successful Syria successful 2018 by an American-backed Kurdish militia. The American subject took custody of them successful 2019.
After a lengthy statement wrong the Trump medication implicit what to bash with them — including the anticipation of turning them implicit to the Iraqis oregon taking them to the wartime situation astatine Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — they were brought to Virginia to look charges earlier a civilian tribunal past year.
Both initially pleaded not guilty. Since then, the lawsuit has been successful pretrial hearings. Mr. Elsheikh has seemingly not changed his plea.
Another subordinate of the onetime British compartment — Mohammed Emwazi, amended known arsenic Jihadi John — was killed successful an airstrike successful 2015 successful Syria. Mr. Emwazi was believed to person killed Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff, arsenic good arsenic Peter Kassig, an assistance worker.
The 4th member, Aine Davis, has been imprisoned successful Turkey connected coercion charges.
Adam Goldman contributed reporting.