Alexanda Kotey “The Beatle” is accused of being a member of the “Beatles” IS cell, which was responsible for kidnappings in Iraq and Syria. Kotey, 37, pled guilty to all eight charges and now faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison. He would appear in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, for a change of plea hearing, where he pled guilty to charges of hostage kidnapping resulting in death and conspiracy to murder US residents.
Prosecution advocate Raj Parekh told reporters outside the court, “Kotey has been granted fair trials, and in the face of overwhelming evidence, he made the independent decision to plead guilty to his crimes.”
In the deaths of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well as aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller, Kotey and partner “Beatle” El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, are held for investigation. Both men are suspected of killing additional prisoners, including Alan Henning, a British taxi driver who was carrying supplies, and David Haines, a Scottish aid worker, as well as two Japanese nationals.
Kotey’s new plea indicates that he may now cooperate with prosecutors. Mohammed Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John,” the group’s accused mastermind, was killed in a drone strike in 2015. Kotey and Elsheikh escaped until they were apprehended by Syrian Kurds fighting IS in 2018. The US government wanted them behind bars but did not have enough evidence against them.
However, if the individuals were convicted in a US court, the US indicated it would not carry out the death punishment. Since then, British counter-terrorism officials have shared essential information with their counterparts in the United States.
Meanwhile, Kotey’s plea deal stipulates a minimum term of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Furthermore, after 15 years, he would be able to be transported to the United Kingdom to face any accusations that could arise there.