Former IS fighter Alexanda Kotey faces life imprisonment after admitting his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of British, American and Japanese citizens
The father of a journalist who was beheaded by a group of ISIS fighters nicknamed “The Beatles” has welcomed “a little justice” after one of the terrorists faces life imprisonment after pleading guilty to heinous crimes in court would have.
Art Sotloff, the father of Steven Sotloff, watched as Alexanda Amon Kotey admitted his guilt in the US District Court in Virginia on Thursday, exactly seven years after the brutal murder.
The 31-year-old American-Israeli journalist was kidnapped and tortured in Syria before Mohammed Emwazi – known as “Jihadi John” – beheaded him in September 2014 and footage of the murder was circulated online.
Kotey, a 37-year-old who grew up in London and known as Jihadi Ringo, was involved in the kidnapping and detention of Mr Sotloff and three other American citizens, all of whom died while being held hostage.
Mr. Sotloff said Local10 : “I felt him (his son) there with me in the courtroom and could see him smiling because finally there was a little justice.
“Seven years a day. What are the chances of that? I think God had something to do with it. I don’t know what to say. “
Mr Sotloff also said Kotey showed no emotion in court when speaking about torturing hostages and that he was “cool, calm and collected, like talking about baseball”.
His group of four, known as the Beatles because they spoke with a British accent, are also believed to have kidnapped and murdered British citizens David Haines and Alan Henning, and Japanese nationals Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, before sharing graphic footage of the executions online.
The US Department of Justice says Kotey and other members of ISIS were involved in “an ongoing pattern of physical and psychological violence against hostages” and their actions were “designed to compel members of the victims’ families and the US government to pay large ransoms for theirs.” Publication”.
Kotey pleaded guilty to four counts: fatal hostage-taking, conspiracy to commit fatality-taking, conspiracy to assassinate U.S. citizens outside the United States, conspiracy to materially assist terrorists – hostage-taking and murder – resulting in death, and conspiracy to provide material assistance a designated foreign terrorist organization resulting in death.
Deputy Attorney General Mark Lesko said Kotey would “spend the rest of his life in prison for the horrific crimes he has committed”.
Emwazi, who was the ringleader, was killed by a US drone attack in Syria in 2015 and Kotey was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces in 2018 while trying to escape to Turkey with his co-defendant El Shafee Elsheikh, known as Jihad Georg .
Aine Lesley Davis, known as Jihadi Paul, was sentenced in 2017 to seven and a half years in a Turkish prison.