Saturday the 30th of March two ISIS agents gave an interview and concluded that the beheadings they are accused of being part of were a “mistake.” Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are believed to be a part of a radical Islamic State Group called “The Beatles,” who are recently known for the beheading of American journalist James Foley.
This cell of jihadists held 20 western hostages in Syria and surfaced when they began torturing and beheading several American, British, and Japanese journalists along with aid workers. Originally from Britain, these formed radical jihadists went to Syria supposedly to join radical Islamic groups.
They were captured by the Kurdish-led, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in Eastern Syria. Soon after the British government decided to strip them of their citizenship, declaring both as “illegal” and not allowing them back into England. According to Elsheikh the British government stripped them of their citizenship subjects them to, “rendition and torture,” and “being taken to any foreign land and treated in anyway and having nobody to vouch for you.” will put them in a position to not have a fair trial.
This case has sparked a lot of debate where they should be tried, whether it is the US, somewhere in the EU, or in Syria itself. Britain's defense secretary has voiced she does not think they should be let back into their country.
James Foley was one of the American journalists executed by the Beatles. His mother, Diane Foley, spoke to the AP and called on the international community and U.S. Government to give them a fair trial. She wished them to, “have the courage to hold these men accountable in an open trial where we can face them and hear all the pain and suffering they’ve inflicted on the world. And so that the rest of the world can understand the atrocity of their crimes.” Ms. Foley opposes the death penalty because she thinks it plays into these types of groups "desire for martyrdom and heroic afterlife."
Elsheikh commonly referred to scripture and dictated that the killings were a “mistake.” Before he found himself in this situation, Elsheikh traveled to Syria in 2012 first joining al-Qaeda then becoming employed as an IS jailer. Here he earned a reputation and entered the U.S. State Department’s terrorist watch list for waterboarding, performing mock executions and crucifixions on inmates while employed as an IS jailer.
He believes that the members of the Beatles should not have initially threatened to kill the hostages. This threat is not something that radical Islamic militants take lightly when dictated to the masses. If they do not follow through, “your credibility may go” Elsheikh said.
Koteyspoke in a more informal manner than Elsheikh, often making jokes. When questioned about whether the IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was alive, he talked about how some people thought Elvis never died, and Tupac is still alive.
Both did not appear to be apologetic about belonging to the IS, but did not recognize crimes the groups within the IS had committed during its rule over Syria and Iraq. Comparing the executions to death sentences in other countries, Elsheikh said the supposed crimes IS committed, such as torture, were in violation of Islamic law. He added, “you can’t prove anything,” because he believes that such atrocities have not occurred or are not true to the IS mission.
They both refused to talk about whether they had worked as jailors, and depicted these stories as allegations created by foreign intelligence and the media. Elsheikh said, “so the world can say this is the bad guy and kill the bad guy.” He added, “No fair trial, when I am 'the Beatle' in the media. No fair trial.” However, the pair were identified by fingerprints and biometric means to place them as contributors to the executions. Whats only left is the decision of where the trial will be held.