Member of British ISIS terror cell called the ‘Beatles’ pleads guilty in US court for helping to torture and kill prisoners in Syria, including four Americans
- Alexanda Kotey, 36, a member of Britain’s ISIS militant cell called the “Beatles,” pleaded guilty to all charges in US federal court on Thursday
- He first pleaded not guilty in October, but changed his plea and recognized the minimum sentence of life without parole
- Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, are involved in the beheading of international hostages, including two US aid workers and two US journalists
- Kotey, known as ‘Jihadi Ringo’, and Elsheikh known as ‘Jihadi George’ were part of a four-piece British IS group nicknamed the ‘Beatles’ for their accents
Alexanda Kotey, 36, a member of Britain’s ISIS militant group called the “Beatles,” pleaded guilty Thursday to terrorism charges for torturing and murdering detainees in Syria, including four Americans.
Kotey, known as “Jihadi Ringo,” pleads guilty to all eight cases in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia for his part in aiding the terrorist organization.
He had originally pleaded innocent last October. The change of plea suggests that Kotey may be cooperating with the prosecution.
He and another British ISIS member, El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, known as “Jihadi George,” were involved in the beheadings of international hostages, including US aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig and US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
Both men have been charged with hostage-taking resulting in death, conspiracy to murder American citizens abroad and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
British Islamic State (IS) group fighters, El Shafee el-Sheikh, known as ‘Jihadi George’ (L) and Alexanda Kotey, known as ‘Jihadi Ringo’ (R), pose for mugshots in an unknown location (2018)
Mohammed Emwazi known as ‘Jihadi John’ brandishing a knife (left) In Turkey, Aine Davis known as ‘Jihadi Paul’ (right)
Kotey and Elsheikh were part of a terrorist group of four men from West London, nicknamed the ‘Beatles’. They were led by Mohammed Emwazi, aka ‘Jihadi John’, who was killed in a targeted CIA airstrike in 2015. The fourth member, Aine Lesley Davis, known as “Jihadi Paul,” was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. Turkish prison in 2017.
Escaped ISIS hostages said they called the four men “The Beatles” because of their British accents.
While onstage, he told Judge TS Ellis III that he was aware that the minimum sentence he should receive for his crimes is life without parole. The US government has previously stated that it will not demand the death penalty.
Relatives of all four Americans killed appeared in court to hear Kotey’s plea, but did not speak.
Kotey and Elsheikh were held in Iraq by the US military before being flown to the US to face charges last year. The two men were British citizens, but their citizenship was revoked in 2018 when they were captured by Syrian Kurds fighting ISIS.
They allegedly participated in videos of extreme extremists posted online showing beheadings of foreign hostages.
The torture of the hostages reportedly included electric shocks with a taser, forcing hostages to fight each other and 20-minute beatings with sticks and waterboarding, according to the 24-page indictment.
The two men are also suspected of involvement in the deaths of other hostages, including Alan Henning, a British taxi driver who delivered aid, David Haines, a Scottish aid worker, and two Japanese nationals.