Ex-Briton 'Isis Beatle' sentenced to life in prison

El Shafee Elsheikh, An Islamic State group militant from the UK

© APA | El Shafee Elsheikh, An Islamic State group militant from the UK

# 19 August 2022 20:21 (UTC +04:00)

An Islamic State group militant from the UK has been sentenced to life in prison by a US court for his involvement with a terror cell, APA reports citing BBC.

El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, was convicted in April of hostage-taking, conspiracy to murder US citizens and supporting a terrorist organisation.

The Sudanese-born Londoner was the highest profile IS fighter to stand trial in the US.

His actions are said to have resulted in the deaths of four US hostages.

Journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig were all kidnapped and killed at the hands of the cell.

"Hatred truly overtook your humanity," Foley's family said in a statement on Friday. "But you too have lost - your freedom, your citizenship and family contact. We have all lost."

Friday marks the eight-year anniversary of Foley's death. His mother, Diane Foley, told the BBC that when she first heard of her son's death she thought it was "some cruel joke".

Hostages said Elsheikh was part of a notorious cell nicknamed "the Beatles" - after the band - because of their British accents.

The three members - Elsheikh, Alexanda Kotey and Mohammed Emwazi - who are said to be part of the group all grew up in west London and volunteered to fight for the Islamic State group in Syria. They ended up guarding Western hostages.

US authorities say the group beheaded 27 hostages.

Elsheikh was the only one of the three militants to go on trial in the US, after Kotey pleaded guilty to his own charges last September and Emwazi was killed in a 2015 drone strike in Syria.

In April, the 12-person jury deliberated for less than six hours over two days before finding Elsheikh guilty.

The gruelling 11-day trial involved testimony from former hostages and their family members. On the stand, they described the Beatles as a cohesive unit that revelled in brutality.

Witnesses recounted receiving random beatings, being given dog names and being forced to sing a parody of the Eagles' pop song "Hotel California" retitled "Hotel Osama".

Lawyers for Elsheikh, meanwhile, claimed that he "a simple Isis fighter" who went to Syria alone on behalf of "suffering Muslims".