Charged with plotting to kill four American captives, two defendants from the UK belonging to ISIL took the plea of not guilty at the court’s proceedings held in the city of Alexandria, in Virginia, USA.
Named El Shafi Elshaikh and Alexandra Kotey, the two men are reported as members of a branch of the Islamic State known as “The Beatles” (named after a popular English rock band) infamous for its acts of abduction and kidnappings in Iraq and a few Syrian regions.
The suspects attended the court trial via a video call.
The two accused were airlifted from Iraq to the US. Here, the American forces held them in custody, where they will appear before a Virginia based court and face trial.
Kotey and Elshaikh, aged 32 years and 36 years respectively, are being trailed for numerous criminal charges for their complicity in the murders of American journalists, James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and two American workers involved in aid operations named Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.
The suspects relinquished entitlement to a faster trial.
Adjourning the case’s proceedings until 15th January 2021, the honourable judge TS Ellis remarked that the case might involve sensitive information and defined it as being “unusual and complicated”.
The judge commented, “To ensure justice to all parties, more time is required”.
Other than the four American captives, the two alleged murderers are also suspected of murdering other prisoners like Alan Henning, a resident of Salford, Greater Manchester working as a taxi driver distributing aid, and an Australian aid worker named David Haines, as well as two Japanese citizens.
The duo of Elshaikh and Kotey is also charged with aiding terrorism and scheming to commit hostage-taking.
Belonging to West London, both men had their UK nationalities cancelled in 2018. The supposed ISIS wing to which they belonged was named the Beatles – a 1960s pop group – by the hostages due to the captors’ British accent.
Officially known as the Islamic State, or IS, the militant group is also known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant), and ISIS. In Arabic, the group is known as DAESH. The wing called the Beatles, a name given to a cell of ISIS, was tasked with carrying out beheadings of the foreigners held hostage in Iraq and Syria. Four of the members were bynamed, Ringo, John, Paul, and George by the captives. One member of the cell was killed. The other was arrested in 2015; another two militants were caught and handed over to US security forces in 2019. The Beatles were more torturous than other ISIS militants. They carried out cruel acts of persecution, such as electrocution, simulated beheadings, waterboarding, and at times crucifixion. The main job of the Beatles, who always masked their identities through veiled faces, was to provide security to the foreign hostages held in confined facilities in the Western Raqqa area of Syria. There was an instance when this cell was stripped of its duties as sentinels due to their rampant brutality.