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ISIS ‘Beatle’ loses sanity assessment, moved to Colo. supermax prison

El Shafee Elsheikh was given eight life sentences for hostage-taking, conspiracy to murder U.S. citizens and supporting a terrorist organization


El Shafee Elsheikh.

Photo/Alexandria Sheriff’s Office via AP

Arab News

DUBAI — A member of a Deash cell known as “The Beatles” faces dying alone in an American prison, described by an ex-warden as a “place not designed for humanity,” after his appeal for a sanity assessment was rejected.

Having been given in August eight life sentences for hostage-taking, conspiracy to murder US citizens and supporting a terrorist organization, El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, had claimed that he suffered from poor mental health to avoid being jailed in ADX Florence in Colorado, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.

Elsheikh dodged being jailed for some time at the toughest supermax jail in the US, also labeled the “Alcatraz of the Rockies,” after submitting his claim.

Following his mental assessment, the 34-year-old, who was one of four terrorists in a Daesh cell in Iraq and Syria called “The Beatles” by their captors due to their British accents, was moved to ADX Florence earlier in March, reported the Mirror.

He is now said to be serving his eight life sentences in solitary confinement in a 7-by-12-foot cell.

An unnamed US prison official was quoted as saying that “Elsheikh will rot in the closest thing America has to hell on Earth.”

“The Beatles” comprised Elsheikh, Aine Davis, Alexanda Kotey and Mohammed Emwazi. The latter was nicknamed Jihadi John and was killed in a drone strike in Syria in 2015.

Media reports cited US officials as saying that “The Beatles,” whose members were brought up in west London, had decapitated 27 hostages. Other hostages have alleged that the Daesh cell tortured people using electric shocks and mock executions.

Elsheikh was found guilty in April 2022 and later sentenced in August to eight life sentences with no option for parole while his crimes were branded “brutal” and “horrific.”

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

Two other Brits, shoe bomber Richard Reid, 49, and Abu Hamza, 64, are also serving life sentences in ADX Florence.

The 34-year-old was apprehended alongside Kotey in Syria in 2018 by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces during the duo’s bid to escape to Turkiye.

After pleading guilty in 2021, Kotey was jailed in the US in April 2022 for his part in the killings.

Meanwhile, Davis was imprisoned in Turkiye before being repatriated to the UK in September 2022.

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

The attorney representing the victims’ families said Elsheikh remained “defiantly remorseless and unrepentant” during his sentencing.

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

Commander Richard Smith, head of counterterrorism at London’s Metropolitan Police Service, told the Daily Mail: “This is one of the most significant international terrorism cases ever brought to trial...These were some of the most barbaric terrorist acts ever seen, carried out with chilling callousness and brutality.”

Elsheikh is the most notorious and highest-ranking member of Daesh to ever be convicted in a US court, prosecutors said.


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