Jury deliberates in case of British ISIS militant accused of kidnapping

A jury resumes its deliberations Thursday morning within the case of El Shafee Elsheikh, one of many three British males accused of working a brutal ISIS hostage-taking scheme that led to the deaths of 4 Individuals. 

Collectively often known as the “Beatles” for his or her British accents, Elsheikh and his co-conspirators Mohammad Emwazi and Alexanda Kotey labored collectively to kidnap and abuse greater than two dozen Western hostages, in line with prosecutors. He is charged with collaborating within the plot that led to the deaths of American hostages James Foley, Peter Kassig, Kayla Mueller and Steven Sotloff.

“This defendant put the phobia in terrorism himself,” First Assistant U.S. Legal professional Raj Parekh stated throughout closing arguments in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday.

Foley, Kassig and Sotloff have been all beheaded in a sequence of ugly ISIS propaganda movies launched in 2014. ISIS had claimed Mueller was killed in a 2015 airstrike whereas she was in Syria, however prosecutors Wednesday stated they now consider ISIS killed her after holding her as a slave and sexually abusing her for a 12 months and a half.

Elsheikh just isn’t accused of finishing up the act of killing the hostages himself, however he’s charged with collaborating within the kidnapping and torture that led to the murders of the hostages. Prosecutors say that is sufficient to safe the conviction.

“These people got here to Syria to advertise peace and enlightenment,”  Parekh stated. “El Shafee Elsheikh responded with the systemic, premeditated and relentless abuse and torture.”

Parekh laid out his case tying Elsheikh to the hostage-taking operation by connecting him to the opposite Beatles.

“The proof demonstrates that they grew up collectively, radicalized collectively, fought as high-ranking ISIS fighters collectively, held hostages collectively, tortured and terrorized hostages collectively,” Parekh stated.

Elsheikh and Kotey have been finally captured collectively and held by Syrian Protection Forces earlier than Britain agreed to extradite them to the U.S. for trial. Kotey has agreed to plead responsible in alternate for a life sentence. Emwazi, often known as “Jihadi John” and because the determine who carried out most of the hostage executions, was killed in Syria in 2015.   

Protection legal professional Nina Ginsberg didn’t deny Elsheikh had traveled to Syria and joined ISIS or that he knew Emwazi and Kotey. Nonetheless, she contended that the federal government didn’t show that Elsheikh was one of many three Beatles. The protection claims he’s simply an ISIS soldier.

“Mr. Elsheikh was by no means recognized on this courtroom by any of the previous hostages,” Ginsberg stated.

However prosecutors say it’s because the Beatles all the time wore masks throughout their interactions with the hostages.

Over the course of the greater than two week trial, the jury heard proof from dozens of witnesses together with former hostages, households of the victims, officers concerned within the investigation and a former ISIS fighter.

Danish hostage Daniel Ottosen, the ultimate witness for the prosecution this week, detailed the brutality of the Beatles. He recalled being compelled to attend the execution of a Syrian man whereas he and a bunch of hostages held messages to their households. Afterward whereas within the automobile again to the jail, Ottosen recalled one of many Beatles telling him that he can be subsequent.

Earlier than Ottosen was launched in June of 2014, he memorized a message Foley needed to ship to his household. It took Ottosen three weeks to memorize the letter and was in a position to recite it to Foley’s dad and mom. Not lengthy after, Ottosen noticed Foley’s execution video.

“I bear in mind being completely happy for James that nobody can harm him anymore,” Ottosen stated. He then defined he felt terrible seeing Steven Sotloff, who was featured on the finish of the video, as a result of he needed to witness it understanding he can be subsequent.

Ottosen returned to courtroom Wednesday to look at the closing arguments together with quite a lot of the American hostages’ relations who’ve been sitting within the gallery all through the trial.


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