Two ISIS militants to stand trial in Northern Virginia
The Department of Justice (DoJ) announced today that two militant terrorists, allegedly responsible for the kidnapping and deaths of four Americans, will be brought to the United States and tried for their crimes.
“Two militant fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a foreign terrorist organization, are expected to arrive in the United States today in FBI custody on charges related to their participation in a brutal hostage-taking scheme that resulted in the deaths of four American citizens, as well as the deaths of British and Japanese nationals, in Syria,” the justice department said in a statement released to the press.
Alexanda Amon Kotey, 36, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, both former British subjects, are expected to appear in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia today.
The American victims of the terrorist cell were:
- James Wright Foley, a journalist who was believed to be captured in November of 2012 and beheaded by Emwazi in a video released in August 2014.
- Kayla Jean Mueller, an aid worker seized in Syria in August of 2013, whose family received an email in February of 2015 that confirmed her death.
- Steven Joel Sotloff, a journalist, was seized in Syria in August of 2013 and was slain by Emwazi in a video released by ISIS media center in September 2014.
- Peter Edward Kassig, an aid worker and former U.S. Army Ranger, was captured in October of 2013 and was shown decapitated in an ISIS video released in November 2014.
“Today we remember the victims… and their families,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“These families have suffered with the painful loss of their loved ones at the hands of brutal killers; today’s charges demonstrate the FBI’s dedication and commitment to giving them the justice they deserve,” Wray said in a statement.
In a strongly-worded statement, Attorney General William Barr said, “These charges are the product of many years of hard work in pursuit of justice for our citizens slain by ISIS. Although we cannot bring them back, we can and will seek justice for them, their families, and for all Americans.”
Barr also had a message for other bad actors: “Our message to other terrorists around the world is this — if you harm Americans, you will face American arms on the battlefield or American law in our courtrooms. Either way, you will be pursued to the ends of the earth until justice is done.”
According to the DoJ statement, the indictment alleges that “From 2012 to 2015, Kotey, Elsheikh, Mohamed Emwazi (deceased), and a fourth British citizen (CC-1) currently incarcerated in Turkey, were ISIS fighters and participated in the abduction of American and European hostages in Syria. The men also allegedly engaged in a prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence against the hostages, including against American citizens James Wright Foley, Kayla Jean Mueller, Steven Joel Sotloff, and Peter Edward Kassig. Due to their English accents and their history together in the United Kingdom, the four men were often referred to by hostages as ‘The Beatles.’”
The United Kingdom released the suspects to U.S. custody only after U.S. negotiators agreed not to pursue the death penalty if the two are found guilty.
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