A jihadist in the Islamic State was found guilty in the United States of kidnapping and killing American hostages

Al-Shafei Al-Sheikh, a member of the evil “Beatles” cell within the Islamic State (ISIS), was convicted in a US court, Thursday, of playing a role in the kidnapping and killing of four American hostages in Syria. Verdict praised by the families of the victims.

Accused of being a member of this bloodthirsty trio, called hostages because of their British accent, he was tried in Alexandria, near Washington, for the arrest and murder of journalists James Foley and Stephen Sotloff, as well as humanitarian workers Kayla Mueller. and Peter Kassig, for support of a terrorist organization.

The jury in this federal court trial took just twelve hours to convict him of the eight counts. He did not respond to the announcement of the verdict, while members of the families of the victims who attended the session had tears welling up in their eyes.

Al-Shafei Al-Sheikh, 33, chose to remain silent throughout this first major trial against the extremist group in the United States, which lasted two weeks. Through the voice of his lawyer, he admitted joining the ranks of ISIS and denying being one of the “Beatles”.

“It’s a day when we don’t need bombs or bullets to get justice.”following the sentencing of Diane Foley, who fought to free her son who was finally executed in 2014. I really believe that justice prevailed. »

Karl Muller, the father of the young humanitarian who was kidnapped in 2013 and declared dead by the organization in 2015, also welcomed the outcome of the trial. “We’ve all seen the best of the American judicial system.”He said alongside his wife Marsha, who gave a moving testimony last week.

‘gummy wound’

A verdict is scheduled for August 12. He faces life imprisonment ‘Maybe worse than the death penalty’Mueller said.

“A terrorist crime opens a wide wound in society, and only justice can put an end to such a hideous separation.”commented French journalist Nicolas Henin, a hostage between 2013 and 2014 who witnessed the cruelty of his captors.

“It does not bring back the dead, it does not heal all wounds, but it calms. It identifies the culprit and who is the victim and restores some order”He said in a letter to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

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This cell would have supervised the holding of at least 27 hostages, between 2012 and 2015, from about fifteen countries (the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain, France, Denmark, New Zealand, Peru, etc.), and organized the execution of dozens of hostages. them in unbearable propaganda videos.

During the trial, dozens of former hostages gave frightening testimonies of the violence they experienced during their captivity: waterboarding, systematic beatings, psychological torture…

They described the men who looked real “equipped” and distinguished by “their sadism”still “masked” And “glove”Who forbade watching them and distributed strikes without counting.

“merciless”

On Wednesday, prior to the jury’s deliberations, the Attorney General, Raj Parekh, confirmed that the prosecution had met “Mosaic of Evidence” It appears that he was part of ‘A horrific and inhuman plot’from him “resulted in death” American, British and Japanese prisoners.

As for the prosecution, Al-Shafei Al-Sheikh was “Ringo”, in what some of the hostages seemed to think was “George”. He wasn’t really recognized as a member of the group by the former hostages who had been called to the bar, who had always seen members of this masked trio.

Kurdish forces in Syria arrested Al-Shafei Al-Sheikh along with Alexanda Kotey, a member of the “Beatles”, in 2018. While in detention, he admitted to journalists that he had been arrested. “without sympathy” With the hostages placed under his supervision.

They were taken to the United States for trial, but Alexanda Kotey has chosen to plead guilty and will be sentenced on April 29. To prosecute them, Washington promised not to seek the death penalty.

The group’s other member, Mohamed Mowazi, was killed in a drone attack in 2015. Nicknamed “Jihadi John,” he was identified after appearing with a butcher’s knife in ISIS propaganda videos showing the scene of the beheading of Western hostages.

Le Monde and Agence France-Presse

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