Spiegel reporter Chris Hughes and photographer Rowan Griffiths sat down with Alexanda Kotey two years ago – he has now pleaded guilty to being part of the IS terrorist group “The Beatles”
Image: Rowan Griffiths Daily Mirror)
Sharing a pot of tea in a muggy prison cell in Syria with one of the world’s most ruthless terrorists was one of the scariest experiences imaginable.
Alexanda Kotey grinned at us as he described how the British hostage Ken Bigley was beheaded for “entertainment” in Iraq.
This week the Londoner admitted in a court in Virginia, USA, that he was part of the IS terrorist group “Beatles” and that he was charged with kidnapping and torturing four Americans that led to their murder.
James Foley, Kayla Mueller, Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig’s families were in the courtroom to hear Kotey, 37, admit eight charges.
Rowan Griffiths Daily Mirror)
His confessions of guilt were part of a deal that means he will never be free but will save him from execution and give him the chance to leave one of America’s toughest prisons and return to the UK after 15 years.
Two years ago, I and Mirror photographer Rowan Griffiths witnessed Kotey’s cold-hearted disregard for ISIS victims.
He boasted of having saved the life of “Jihadi John” Mohammed Emwazi, whom he had dragged seriously wounded from a fight with another terrorist group.
Emwazi, a compatriot from London, later became the chief decider of IS.
But the beheadings were nothing to Kotey.
He told me, “There is nothing that overshadows my memories of him. They were powerful messages, but they were very short, two minutes of his life. “
He even confessed to crying when Emwazi was killed in a drone attack in 2015. Shafee el-Sheikh, 32, is also believed to be one of the Beatles who got her nickname because of her British accent, USA in January.
Yesterday, James Foley’s mother, Diane, desperately hoped that Kotey’s guilty guilty admission could lead to the discovery of her son’s remains.
But she said, “I got no indication that he was interested, but I hope he could in time – just because of the extent of the evil.
“I just don’t know how a soul can live with all of this. We all want to know where our children’s remains are. “
Ms. Foley said she was “glad” Kotey pleaded guilty.
She said, “I hope he will spend the rest of his life behind bars. I almost think that a quick ordeal is too easy a way out. “