A member of 'Beatles' Islamic State cell who has been charged with conspiring to torture and behead American and European hostages in Syria is set to plead guilty on Thursday in a US court.
Court records show a change of plea hearing has been scheduled at 5.30 pm on Thursday in a district court in Alexandria, Virginia, for Alexanda Amon Kotey, one of four ISIS members who were nicknamed "the Beatles" by their captives because of their British accents.
Brutal Hostage-Taking Scheme
Kotey, 37, is one of two British nationals brought to the US in 2020. The indictment accuses him of a "brutal hostage-taking scheme" that involved "kidnapping and torturing American citizens and nationals of other countries" as part of a "propaganda campaign" for ISIS, reported the New York Post. The scheme also involved murders, mock executions, shocks with stun guns, physical restraints and other brutal acts.
Who is Alexanda Amon Kotey?
Kotey, known as Jihadi Ringo, is a former British citizen who was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces while he was reportedly fleeing from the fall of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Previously, he had denied being a member of "The Beatles" but has admitted to joining the ISIL terrorist group and going to Syria.
According to media reports, Kotey allegedly worked as a drug dealer in London before entering the world of terrorism. He is believed to have converted to Islam in his early twenties and left two young children in Britain.
Kotey Worked With El Shafee Elsheikh Also Known as 'Jihadi George'
Kotey and another man, El Shafee Elsheikh, came to the US last year to face charges, having been stripped of their UK citizenship. In order to obtain their extradition, the Department of Justice promised that neither defendant would face a death sentence, according to The Guardian. Elsheik is a Sudanese-born British man who has been designated a terrorist by the United States.
Kotey and Elsheik left for Syria in 2012. Prosecutors say the men worked closely with a chief spokesman for IS who reported to the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a US military operation in 2019.
The indictment also charges them in connection with the deaths of four American hostages â the journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and the aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller â and those of European and Japanese nationals who also were held captive, reported The Guardian.
The Pair Collected Email Addresses from a Dead American Hostage
Kotey and Elsheikh were captured in Syria in 2018 by the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces while trying to escape to Turkey.
In the interviews they gave before being brought to the US, the men acknowledged they helped collect email addresses from a dead American hostage that could be used to send out ransom demands, according to ITV.
The pair, alongside Mohammed Emwazi - also known as "Jihadi John" - and Aine Lesley Davis - now in prison in Turkey - made up the group. Emwazi died in a US drone strike in Syria in November 2015. Elsheikh is scheduled to go on trial in January.