British ‘Beatle’ IS terror cell member to be sentenced in US

El Shafee Elsheikh, 33, was found guilty of his role in a hostage-taking scheme which involved torturing, beating, and executing prisoners.

Alexandria Circuit Court, Franklin P Backus Courthouse, 520 King Street, Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Circuit Court, Franklin P Backus Courthouse, 520 King Street, Alexandria, VA

A member of the so-called “Beatles” Islamic State terror cell could be sentenced to life in prison on Friday in the US.

El Shafee Elsheikh, 33, faces a possible life sentence after being found guilty of his role in a hostage-taking scheme which involved torturing, beating and executing prisoners.

The jihadist, who grew up in London, is accused of being one of a gang of four IS militants nicknamed “the Beatles” by their captives due to their British accents.

The cell, said to be made up of ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, Aine Davis, Alexanda Kotey and Elsheikh, was allegedly responsible for the brutal killings of several Western and Japanese captives, including Britons Alan Henning and David Haines.

Elsheikh was in April convicted of eight counts relating to four American hostages, James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller, after a trial at the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

The three American men that Elsheikh was charged in connection with were executed in videotaped beheadings broadcast online.

Ms Mueller was enslaved and raped multiple times by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before she was killed.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Aine Leslie Davis, 38, appearing in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
Aine Davis appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week following his deportation from Turkey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The four were said to have been among 26 hostages taken between 2012 and 2015, when the Islamic State group dominated large areas in Iraq and Syria.

Elsheikh was captured alongside Kotey in Syria in 2018 by the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces while trying to escape to Turkey.

Last year, Kotey pleaded guilty to eight counts relating to his involvement, while Davis was jailed in Turkey before being deported to the UK last week and Emwazi was killed in a drone strike.

Kotey was jailed in the US in April.

The Metropolitan Police said this week the four men were identified because Kotey and Elsheikh were arrested at an English Defence League (EDL) counter-protest in London in September 2011.

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