The last member of a group of British-nationals who joined the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, dubbed the ISIS Beatles, has been convicted on all counts in the kidnapping and conspiring to kill four U.S. citizens.
“ISIS Beatle” El Shafee Elsheikh was convicted on Thursday on eight counts, including four conspiracy charges relating to his involvement with ISIS and four charges of kidnapping resulting in the deaths of Americans James Foley, Peter Kassig, Kayla Mueller and Steven Sotloff.
Elsheikh was one of a group of at least three and possibly four British nationals who joined ISIS. The group was named the “ISIS Beatles” by captives who noticed their British accents and compared them to the famous British band. Captives referred to the individual members of the ISIS Beatles by the names “Jihadi John, George and Ringo.”
In September, fellow “ISIS Beatle” Alexanda Kotey plead guilty for his role in the kidnap, torture and killing of Foley, Kassig, Mueller and Sotloff. Kotey and Ringo have both been referred to interchangeably as the “Jihadi George” and “Jidahi Ringo” of the ISIS Beatles
A third member of the ISIS Beatles, Mohammed Emwazi, referred to as “Jihadi John,” was killed in an airstrike in November 2015. Prosecutors believe Emwazi was personally responsible the beheading deaths of some of the hostages.
Aine Lesley Davis, the group’s “Jihadi Paul,” is believed to be imprisoned in Turkey.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Elsheikh had known and been radicalized alongside the other members of the ISIS Beatles before they went to join the terror group.
“The evidence demonstrates that they grew up together, radicalized together, fought as high-ranking ISIS fighters together, held hostages together, tortured and terrorized hostages together,” prosecutor Raj Parekh said Wednesday, CNN reported. “What these horrific crimes left behind is a legacy of brutal killings and shattered families.”
During the two-week trial, other former hostages also testified about the torture and brutal conditions they lived in as captives of Elsheikh and the other ISIS Beatles.
Another former ISIS member, Omer Kuzu, also testified against Elsheikh. Kuzu was a native of Dallas, Texas before he also joined ISIS. Kuzu plead guilty in September of 2020 to conspiring to provide material support to terrorism.
During Elsheikh’s trial, Kuzu said Elsheikh was “was an important person” in ISIS operations and noted the pistol he carried, a Glock, was considered rare and expensive among ISIS fighters and served as a “symbol of ISIS aristocracy.”
Throughout the trial, Elsheikh’s defense team tried to convince a jury he had not actually been a member of the ISIS Beatles or any other high-ranking member in the terrorist group but had instead been a “simple ISIS fighter.”