(FILES) This file photo combination of pictures created on February 11, 2018 from two handout images provided by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on February 10, 2018 shows captured British Islamic State (IS) group fighters El Shafee el-Sheikh (L) and Alexanda Kotey (R), posing for mugshots in an undisclosed location. – Two members of an Islamic State cell dubbed the
A trial date has been set for two British ISIS militants known as the “Beatles”, who are accused of torturing and beheading Americans and Europeans in Syria.
A federal judge in Virginia set a tentative date in January 2022 for the trial of El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey.
The men, along with other ISIS militants from Britain, made up a group of fighters who came to be known as “The Beatles” because of their English accents.
The UK only agreed to turn the men over for prosecution in the US after then-Attorney General William Barr agreed not to seek the death penalty.
According to Assistant US Attorney Dennis Fitzpatrick, the “government wants to bring the case to trial as soon as possible”.
Mr Fitzpatrick told the Associated Press that the government has already provided defence attorneys for the men with more than 5,900 pages of documents and 27 hard drives or discs of evidence.
According to Mr Fitzpatrick, Friday was the first time the defence attorneys had met their clients due to medical concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
The militants are accused of holding more than 20 Western hostages during 2014 and 2015 in Syria, torturing many of them. The group is accused of beheading seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers operating in the country.
The ISIS fighters released propaganda videos of the executions along with demands that the US cease its airstrikes in Syria.
James Foley, an American journalist, was the first killed by the group. The militants also killed Americans Steven Sotloff, and Peter Kassig and are thought to have been implicated in the death of Kayla Mueller, as well as that of British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and Japanese journalists Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.
In a joint statement the families of the Americans killed said: “Now our families can pursue accountability for these crimes against our children in a US court.
“Kotey and ElSheikh’s extradition and trial in the United States will be the first step in the pursuit of justice for the alleged horrific human rights crimes against these four young Americans, who saw the suffering of the Syrian people and wanted to help, whether by providing humanitarian aid or by telling the world about the evolving Syrian crisis.”
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