UNITED STATES—On Wednesday, October 7, the United States government announced that two ISIS militants have been indicted on terrorism charges related to the hostage-taking and deaths of four Americans.
Alexanda Kotey, 36, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, were allegedly part of an ISIS execution cell known as “the Beatles.”
Kotey and Elsheikh have been charged for the hostage-taking and murders of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and American aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller (as well as British and Japanese nationals).
The two appeared in court via video in Alexandria, Virginia. Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan where they were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit hostage-taking resulting in death, four counts of hostage-taking resulting in death, one count of conspiracy to murder US citizens outside of the US, one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists resulting in death and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization resulting in death.
“My message to other terrorists is this — if you harm an American, you will face the same fate as these men. You will face American arms on the battlefield, and if you survive, you will face American justice in an American courtroom with the prospect of many years in an American prison. Either way, you will never live in peace — you will be pursued to the ends of the earth. No matter how long it may take, we will never forget, and we will never quit,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers during a press conference.
Kotey and Elsheikh are expected to appear for a detention hearing and arraignment on Friday, October 9. If convicted, each faces the maximum penalty of life in prison for each count.