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ISIS “Beatles” member convicted in Virginia


El Shafee Elsheikh in Syria in 2018 Associated Press/Photo by Hussein Malla

ISIS “Beatles” member convicted in Virginia

A federal jury Thursday found El Shafee Elsheikh, 33, guilty on all counts of lethal kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder for involvement in abducting, torturing, and executing Western hostages in Syria. Elsheikh and two other ISIS fighters are British nationals, nicknamed the “Beatles” by hostages due to their accents. In an agreement with the United Kingdom, Elsheikh will not face the death penalty but will be sentenced to life imprisonment.

What did he do? Elsheikh admitted he fought for Islamic State (ISIS) but claimed his involvement in the kidnapping of Westerners was a case of mistaken identity. Co-defendant Alexanda Kotey pleaded guilty to helping torture and execute several of the hostages. The prosecution also displayed statements from Elsheikh in 2018 when he boasted about holding hostages and beating them. The victims included humanitarian aid worker Kayla Mueller, 26, from Prescott, Ariz., who was abused and raped before being killed. Mueller’s father attended the trial and thanked the jury for serving justice.

Dig deeper: From the archives, read Mindy Belz’s reports on what happened to Kayla Mueller.


Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.

@CarolinaLumetta

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