Fury over 'special treatment' for ISIS 'Beatle' behind beheadings

Fury over 'special treatment' for ISIS 'Beatle' behind beheadings

September 27, 2022

Beatle behind horrific beheadings: Calls for ‘urgent’ answers after British jihadi who killed four US hostages avoids supermax prison and gets ‘soft sentence’ in jail ‘where could radicalise others’

  • El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, will allegedly not be jailed in solitary confinement at ADX Florence in Colorado 
  • Instead he’ll spend his sentence at less restrictive prison on the same site known as USP Florence High 
  • David Spencer, research director at the Centre for Crime Prevention, slammed the decision today 

Fury erupted today over the ‘special treatment’ handed to a British ISIS ‘Beatle’ who killed four hostages as it emerged he would be spared spending the rest of his life in an American supermax prison after concerns were raised about his mental health. 

El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, or ‘Ringo’ will allegedly not be jailed in solitary confinement at ADX Florence in Colorado – but instead he’ll spend his sentence at a less restrictive prison on the same site known as USP Florence High. 

Elsheikh, from West London, received eight life sentences after committing ‘some of the most barbaric terrorist acts ever seen’ as part of the twisted ‘ISIS Beatles’ group which captured, tortured and killed a group of journalists and aid workers in Syria in 2014. 

David Spencer, research director at the Centre for Crime Prevention, slammed the decision today. ‘If it’s special treatment for him and it’s on the grounds of his mental health it looks soft in light of what he’s done and the impact of his horrific actions on his victims and their loved ones,’ he told MailOnline. 

Noting that the supermax already houses other British terrorists, such as the hate preacher Abu Hamza, he added: ‘There’s a lack of consistency. If this jail is where serious terrorists are sent he should have gone there too. 

‘We urgently need to find out the reasons why this man hasn’t been sent there as a convicted terrorist who’s slaughtered so many people.’

According to The Mirror, he will live the rest of his days among a general prison population after his lawyers argued for him to avoid the so-called ‘concrete box’ at the supermax prison due to ‘signs of mental and physical deterioration from his present and past detention.’

Mr Spencer said: ‘There’s clearly a risk of him being able to radicalise others if he’s in the general population. That’s an issue that’s been well documented in the past at both British and American jails. The decision seems naïve at best.’

El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, will not go to what’s known as a ‘concrete box’ at the ADX Florence prison in Colorado but a less restrictive prison on the same site known as USP Florence High

The ADX Florence ‘supermax’ facility in Colorado, would have seen Elsheikh held in isolation for 23 hours a day and inmates include Oklahoma bomber Terry L.Nichols and author of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Centre, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef

USP Florence High, the prison where Elsheikh will serve out his eight life sentences


Left: US freelance journalist Steven Sotloff. Right: Kayla Mueller is shown after speaking to a group in Prescott, Arizona. Both were killed in Syria by ISIS

 James Foley is pictured while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria

Peter Kassig, 26, in Syria wrote a letter to his father shortly before he was beheaded in a videotaped murder. The letter was read out in court during the trial

A source told the paper that the victims’ families ‘don’t know how he evaded Florence’ and that it was a ‘kick in the teeth.’ 

The source, described as a US prison insider, added that the families ‘were sure he was to see out his days at ADX, but they have now been told he has been sent to the lesser penitentiary.’

While saying that El Sheikh is ‘more than qualified’ to be among the ‘worst of the worse’ who serve at ADX, ‘he’s avoided being kept alongside some of the world’s most dangerous men and dying alone.’

Other prisoners who have spent time at Florence High include Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Green River serial killer, Gary Ridgway. 

The ADX Florence supermax facility in Colorado, would have seen Elsheikh held in isolation for 23 hours a day.

Fellow inmates at the jail include Oklahoma bomber Terry L.Nichols and author of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Centre, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef. 

One of Elsheikh’s accomplices, Alexanda Kotey, 38, was jailed in the US in April for his part in the killings. The terror cell also included ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, who was killed in a drone strike in 2015. 

Elsheikh, who was born in Sudan and raised in West London, was convicted of conspiring to kill four American hostages: journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller. 

All but Mueller were executed in videotaped beheadings that ISIS released online, sickening and horrifying the world. 

Mueller was forced into slavery and raped multiple times by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before she was killed. 

The deaths of Foley, Sotloff and Kassig were confirmed in 2014, while Mueller’s death was confirmed in early 2015.

Other prisoners who have spent time at Florence High include Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (pictured) and Green River serial killer, Gary Ridgway

Elsheikh’s warped crimes were branded ‘brutal, callous’ and ‘horrific’ in August as he was handed a life sentence for each of the eight counts he was convicted of in April, which are due to run concurrently.

The cell was said to include ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John; Alexanda Kotey and Elsheikh. Elsheikh was captured alongside Kotey in Syria in 2018 by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces while trying to escape to Turkey. 

Last year, Kotey pleaded guilty to eight counts relating to his involvement, while Davis was jailed in Turkey before being deported to the UK last week and Emwazi was killed in a drone strike. 

Kotey was given the same sentence of eight concurrent life sentences, also by Judge T.S. Ellis, at the same court in April.

Elsheikh’s sentencing hearing came on the eight-year anniversary of the day that ISIS uploaded a video to YouTube showing the gruesome beheading of Foley.

Raj Parekh, the attorney representing the families, said Elsheikh remained ‘defiantly remorseless and unrepentant’ during his sentencing. 

He said the jihadist had made no effort to meet victims’ families.

At sentencing, the court heard statements from some of the victims’ loved ones, including those of US journalist James Foley.

Diane Foley (center), the mother of James Foley, and Carl and Marsha Mueller, the parents of Kayla Mueller, speak to reporters following the sentencing of El Shafee Elsheikh


ISIS ‘Beatles’ members Alexanda Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh (right). The group were referred to by that name due to their English accents 

El Shafee Elsheikh (center) during his arrest at an EDL counter-protest in central London on September 11, 2011

His mother, Diane Foley said: ‘This trial has revealed the horrific human rights crimes you committed while part of Isis. Your hatred overtook your humanity.’ 

The charges against Elsheikh, whose British citizenship was withdrawn in 2018, carried a potential death sentence, but US prosecutors had agreed not seek his execution in a deal with British officials to carry forward the case. 

Elsheikh’s trial, and emotional testimony from the families of his victims, gripped observers on both sides of the Atlantic, and his sentencing was greeted with grim approval by US and UK officials.

‘This prosecution unmasked the vicious and sadistic ISIS Beatles,’ said First Assistant US Attorney Raj Parekh, noting that Elsheikh and the other Beatles always wore masks when they appeared in front of their hostages. 

‘This is one of the most significant international terrorism cases ever brought to trial,’ said Commander Richard Smith, head of counterterrorism at London’s Metropolitan Police Service, in a statement to DailyMail.com. 

Carl and Marsha Mueller, the parents of Kayla Mueller, speak to reporters outside the Albert V. Bryan Federal Courthouse following the sentencing of El Shafee Elsheikh

El Shafee Elsheikh, 34  is pictured in a court room sketch on April 1. ‘The Beatles’ – so-called because they had British accents — tortured and executed US and British hostages

Alexanda Amon Kotey, left, and El Shafee Elsheikh were both prosecuted in the US. Kotey pleaded guilty and was also sentenced to life in prison

Photos taken in 2014 by a Syrian reporter showed the abandoned factory turned ISIS prison in Sheikh Najjar, Syria where Western hostages were reportedly kept for months

One hostage claimed that the basement was divided into two different sections; the first was converted into about 14 dingy single cells and the second into 12 single cells and three big rooms

‘These were some of the most barbaric terrorist acts ever seen, carried out with chilling callousness and brutality,’ he added. 

‘I hope that those most affected may take some comfort in knowing that these extremely dangerous men have been brought to justice.’

He added: ‘This is a time to remember all of the victims – those innocent people who were senselessly killed, and also the surviving hostages who experienced unimaginable horrors at the hands of El Shafee Elsheikh and his co-defendant Alexanda Kotey. 

‘They have shown remarkable fortitude and bravery in giving their accounts of what happened to investigators, and in court.’

Elsheikh is the most notorious and highest-ranking member of the Islamic State group to ever be convicted in a U.S. Court, prosecutors said. 

The life sentence was a foregone conclusion after a jury convicted him of a slew of heinous crimes earlier this year. 

‘ISIS Beatles’, including Jihadi John, the ringleader who shared beheading videos online and killed innocent British aid workers 

Jihadi John

Mohammed Emwazi – Jihadi John

Emwazi was one of the most prominent members of the so-called ISIS Beatles and was regularly seen carrying out executions in their horrific beheading videos.

He took part in the barbaric beheadings of British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and US humanitarian worker Peter Kassig.

The terrorist, who was born in Kuwait and grew up in Queen’s Park, West London, was charged with 27 counts of murder and five counts of hostage taking in November 2014.

He was killed in a Hellfire missile drone strike in Syria in 2015. 

Alexanda Kotey – George 

Kotey, 38, was born to a Ghanaian father and a Greek Cypriot mother and grew up in Shepherd’s Bush, London.

Before his radicalization, he is thought to have worked as a drug dealer before converting to Islam in his early 20s.

In 2012, he left for Syria where the US claims he was involved in beheadings and known for administering ‘exceptionally cruel torture methods’, including electronic shocks.

He is also accused of acting as an ISIS recruiter who convinced a number of other British extremists to join the terror group.

Kotey was captured in Syria while trying to escape to Turkey in 2018 and was held in a US military center in Iraq.

The British Government wanted him tried in the US, where officials believe there is a more realistic chance of prosecution than in the UK. 

He was extradited last year and was charged with a number of terror offenses.

El Shafee Elsheikh – Ringo  

Born in Sudan, Elsheikh, 34, grew up in West London and is the final member of the four British terrorists who fled to join ISIS.

He has been linked to the killings of a number of hostages after heading to Syria to join the extremist group.

He was captured along with Kotey when they tried to flee to Turkey in 2018 and has since been transported to the US where he now faces charges relating to terrorism and beheading Western hostages.

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