Two members of the “Beatles of ISIS” squad, one of them of Cypriot origin, say they don’t expect to get a fair trial after being stripped of their British citizenship.
Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who were captured by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), deny they took part in any beheadings of western hostages and further claim they would not get a fair trial after their UK citizenship was revoked.
The men were the last members of a group of militants known as the “Beatles” - a name they were given due to their English accents – were captured in eastern Syria in early January by SDF and were later identified with assistance from the US who took part in their interrogation.
Kotey, who has a Ghanaian father and a Cypriot mother, suggested many IS members did not approve of the killings for the simple reason that there would be more benefit if hostages were kept alive as political prisoners. But he also said Western governments refused to negotiate while other hostages were released for ransom.
Elsheikh also said the killings were a "mistake," as he explained that executions had to go through because of the initial threat by militants, who stood to lose credibility if they backed down.
"They should be given an orange jumpsuit, stripped of all things they hold dear, and left to rot in Guantanamo Bay"
Relatives of victims speak out
Bethany Haines, the daughter of David Haines who was executed by ISIS militants, told British media that neither Kotey nor Elsheikh had shown any remorse.
In response to their claim that they have been stripped of their rights without citizenship, she spoke off her father’s rights that he lost after being held for 18 months without her family knowing whether he was dead or alive.
"In my opinion they should be given an orange jumpsuit and stripped of all the things they hold dear and left to rot in Guantanamo Bay."
According to the US State Department, Kotey was a guard for the “Beatles” and “likely engaged in the group’s executions and exceptionally cruel torture methods, including electronic shock and waterboarding.”
Kotey had also acted as a recruiter and was responsible for recruiting several British nationals to join the militant group, the State Department said.
Elsheikh also had “earned a reputation for waterboarding, mock executions, and crucifixions while serving as an ISIS jailer,” according to the Americans.
The group was responsible for killing US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and other hostages.
Foley’s mother, Diane, said “they deserve to be held in solitary confinement for the rest of their lives and held accountable for the pain they've inflicted."