IS ‘Beatle’ jailed for life for role in killings of Western hostages
BRIT ISIS member Alexanda Kotey has been jailed for life in the US for his role in the killing of Western hostages in Syria.
The London-born jihadi was one of the so-called Islamic State militants nicknamed The Beatles by their captives due to their English accents.
Kotey, along with ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, and El Shafee Elsheikh were responsible for the brutal killings of several Western hostages, including Alan Henning and David Haines.
The 38-year-old was emotionless as Judge Thomas Selby Ellis handed his verdict down at Alexandria District Court, Virginia, as Kotey’s family watched on from the public gallery.
He was given a life sentence for each of the eight counts he pleaded guilty to and which are being run concurrently.
Judge Ellis described the sick jihadi’s actions as “egregious, violent and inhumane”.
Speaking of Kotey’s victims, the judge said: “These were not prisoners of war, these weren’t soldiers in the field… they were soldiers for good.”
Kotey pleaded guilty to charges in September last year and apparently agreed to co-operate with US authorities as part of his plea deal.
His charges included four counts of hostage taking resulting in death; conspiracy to commit hostage taking resulting in death; conspiracy to murder US citizens outside the country; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, hostage taking and murder, resulting in death; and conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation resulting in death.
Kotey admitted he left the UK with the belief that “the Islamic concept of armed jihad was a valid and legitimate cause and means by which a Muslim defends his fellow Muslim against injustice”.
He also admitted to capturing hostages and said when that came to an end, he moved onto working in ISIS’ recruitment division.
His charges were in relation to the slaying of four US hostages – journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.
Kotey’s co-defendant, Elsheikh, was convicted earlier this month and is expected to be sentence at a later date.
Emwazi was killed in a drone strike in 2015, and Davis was jailed in Turkey in 2017.
Kotey grew up in Paddington, West London, and has been described as having a Ghanaian and Greek-Cypriot background.
The jihadi, believed to be aged around 36, was a convert to Islam as a teenager.
It is not clear when he fled to Syria but his family said in 2019 that 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.