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One of the ISIS men in the group dubbed “the Beatles” previously convicted of the kidnapping and killing of U.S. hostages was sentenced to eight concurrent life sentences Friday.
El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, was sentenced at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia for crimes he inflicted upon at least eight American, British, and Japanese citizens.
Among the victims were American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, along with aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller, which ultimately resulted in their deaths.
Elsheikh did not speak following his sentence, but Fox News confirmed he will be seeking an appeal and claimed his defense lawyers were not adequate during his trial.
“I want to express my gratitude for the tireless work of the trial team, including all our partners, in bringing about today’s sentence,” U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber said. “Their efforts over many years of investigating and prosecuting the ISIS Beatles are emblematic of the best of the Department of Justice, and truly our country, has to offer in pursuing justice in the face of terrorism.”
The former British citizen served as a high-ranking ISIS fighter alongside Alexanda Amon Kotey – who was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year – and were captured together in January 2018 while attempting to flee Syria for Turkey.
According to an April statement by the Department of Justice, Elsheikh helped oversee the terrorist group’s jail and detention facilities where the hostages were held and forced to endure “a prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence.”
“ISIS committed horrific acts against hostages held in Syria and nothing can make up for their suffering and loss,” FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates that those who kill or injure our citizens cannot hide forever.”
Elsheikh oversaw the captivity of 26 hostages in Syria and “personally participated in the detention of and hostage negotiations for British, French, Italian, Danish, German, Spanish, Swedish, Belgian, Swiss, and New Zealand nationals.”
Ringleader of their group was the infamous Mohammed Emwazi, more commonly known as Jihadi John, who was killed in Syria in 2015.
The fourth member of the group, Aine Davis who changed his name to Hamza was arrested in August at the U.K.’s Luton Airport by counter-terrorism officers for charges relating to terrorism upon his arrival from Turkey.
He had previously served seven years in Turkey on terrorism charges.