Former ISIS Beattle pleads guilty to kidnapping of 4 slain Americans in Syria

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa, Syria, June 2014.
A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa, Syria, June 2014. | Reuters/Stringer

A former British citizen, who was part of a group of four ISIS members that their captives referred to as “the Beatles,” has pleaded guilty to all U.S. criminal charges relating to hostage-taking and supporting the terrorist group, resulting in the killing of four American citizens among other Western hostages in Syria.

Alexanda Amon Kotey, 37, who served as an ISIS fighter and participated in the captivity of American and European hostages in Syria, pleaded guilty to all charges that were pending against him in the U.S., the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Kayla Mueller in an undated photo.
Kayla Mueller in an undated photo. | REUTERS/Courtesy Mueller family

Court records show Kotey participated in the seizure, detention and hostage negotiations for four American citizens — journalists James Wright Foley and Steven Joel Sotloff, and aid workers Kayla Jean Mueller and Peter Edward Kassig — between 2012 and 2015.

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The four died as hostages in ISIS' custody.

Kotey, who has pleaded guilty to all eight charges against him, also participated in hostage operations involving British, Italian, Danish and German nationals, among others, according to the statement.

“This guilty plea ensures that Kotey will spend the rest of his life in prison for the horrific crimes he has committed,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko for the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said.

Kotey was one of four ISIS terrorists nicknamed the Beatles by their hostages because of their British accents.

“This case has always been focused on the victims and their families,” Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia said.

“Their resilience, courage, and perseverance have ensured that terror will never have the last word. The justice, fairness, and humanity that this defendant received in the United States stand in stark contrast to the cruelty, inhumanity, and indiscriminate violence touted by the terrorist organization he espoused. Today, through the voices and lives of the victims, Justice spoke, and it is those words that will resonate through history,” Parekh added.

Kotey and two other ISIS members supervised the terror group’s jails and detention facilities where the hostages were kept. They were responsible for transferring hostages between detention facilities.

They “engaged in a prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence against hostages that was meant as an effort to control the hostages,” the Justice Department said. “These actions were also intended to compel the victims’ family members and the U.S. government to pay large monetary ransoms for their release, in addition to compelling the U.S. government to agree to other terms and conditions for the victims’ return.”

In a prepared summary, Kotey admitted he left the U.K. for Syria in August 2012 alongside ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, who was also known as Jihadi John before he was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2015, The Epoch Times reported.

Kotey said his job was to “extract” contact details for loved ones of those taken hostage. The terrorists would then demand the release of Islamist prisoners held by the West or large sums of money as ransom.

Kotey said he also worked in the ISIS recruitment division and its “English media department.”

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