Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Alabama, commended U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the U.S. Department of Justice on the indictment of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, part of an ISIS cell known as “The Beatles” who were captured in Syria in 2018.
“I applaud the amazing work of the patriotic men and women at the Department of Justice in making these two terrorists answer for their crimes,” Palmer said. “These two killers became famous across the world for participating in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of innocent people, including Americans Kayla Mueller, Peter Kassig, and journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Bringing them to the US to face charges for their horrific crimes is a victory for justice and all the victims of ISIS terror.”
Vice President Mike Pence referenced this prosecution during Wednesday’s vice presidential debate.
“Trump unleashed the American military and our armed forces destroy the ISIS caliphate and took down their leader, al-Baghdadi without one American casualty,” Pence said. “Al-Baghdadi was responsible for the death of thousands, but notably America’s hearts today are with the family of Kayla Mueller. Her parents, which are here with us tonight in Salt Lake City. Today, two of the ISIS killers responsible for Kayla Mueller’s murder were brought to justice in the United States. Jihadi John was killed on the battlefield along with the other beetle. The reality is that when Joe Biden was vice president, we had an opportunity to save Kayla Mueller. Breaks my heart to reflect on it, but the military came into the oval office, presented a plan, they said they knew where Kayla was. Baghdadi had held her for 18 months, abused or mercilessly before they killed her, but when Joe Biden was Vice President they hesitated for a month, and when armed forces finally went in, it was clear she’d been moved two days earlier. And her family says with a heart that broke the heart of every American, that if President Donald Trump had been president, they believe Kayla would be alive today.”
On Wednesday, Justice Department officials and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced that the two British citizens turned Islamic State fighters will face multiple federal charges over accusations that they jailed and tortured hostages.
“We are here to announce the indictment of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh. Kotey and Elsheikh were members of the notoriously brutal ISIS hostage-taking cell that became known as ‘the Beatles,’ a name their captives gave to them because of their British accents,” Wray said. “The defendants are charged with terrorism offenses related to hostage-taking and killing of four Americans, as well as citizens of Great Britain and Japan. For over a year, Kotey and Elsheikh were held in Iraq by the U.S. military under the law of armed conflict. I’m pleased to confirm that they are now in F.B.I. custody, and will soon appear in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia.”
“The F.B.I. and our partners are working tirelessly every day to recover all U.S. hostages held abroad,” Wray concluded. “And we won’t rest until we see a similar resolution for justice against all those responsible for holding Americans captive, especially when those captives lives are taken.”
“These charges are the product of many years of hard work in pursuit of justice for our citizens slain by ISIS,” Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement. “Although we cannot bring them back, we can and will seek justice for them, their families, and for all Americans.”
The DOJ claims that the terrorists are linked the group to the kidnapping and abuse of more than two dozen hostages. Some of those prisoners were ultimately beheaded for propaganda videos including the journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
The DOJ claims that British Islamic extremists repeatedly beat their hostages at the then-ISIS capital in Raqqa, Syria.
Prosecutors say that they subjected their hostages to numerous abuses including: waterboarding, mock executions, painful stress positions, food deprivation, beatings with sticks lasting 20 minutes or longer, chokeholds causing blackouts and electric shocks.
They also forced their hostages to fight each other and to witness murders, court papers claim.
The two alleged terrorists were captured by Kurdish militia. They turned them over to the U.S. during the chaos of the Turkish invasion of Kurdish occupied territory in Syria.
The families of their victims had pushed for the men to be prosecuted in federal court instead of being sent to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, where many terrorists are detained.
Palmer represents Alabama’s 6th Congressional District. Palmer has no Democratic opponent in the Nov. 3 general election.