BREAKING NEWS: ISIS ‘Beatles’ plead NOT GUILTY to conspiracy to commit murder charges and will return to court in January to face justice over the executions of four American hostages in Syria
- Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh were both indicted on eight charges relating to the killings of four American hostages in Syria
- On Friday, the pair both pleaded not guilty across the board and requested a jury trial
- They will return to court on January 15 for a trial date to be set
- Despite the fact that it is their native language, Judge Ellis on Friday told them they had ‘very good English’
- The pair have been charged over the deaths of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller
Both of the ISIS ‘Beatles’ who were brought to the US from Iraq this week to face charges of murdering dozens of western hostages pleaded not guilty on Friday.
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh were both indicted on eight charges relating to the killings of four American hostages in Syria.
On Friday, the pair both pleaded not guilty across the board and requested a jury trial. They will return to court in January for a trial date to be set.
The men are British but were stripped of their citizenship when they traveled to Syria to join the terror group.
Despite the fact that it is their native language, District Judge Thomas Selby Ellis III on Friday told them they had ‘very good English’.
Lawyers for the pair told the judge they needed time to carry out ‘considerable discovery’, much of which is in Arabic.
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh have been indicted on eight charges connected to the deaths of four US citizens, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday
James Foley and Steven Sotloff were both working as journalists in Syria when they were captured and killed by the pair
Kayla Mueller was working as an aid volunteer in Syria when she was killed in 2015. Peter Kassig was also killed
The pair appeared in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.
They were flown to the US from Iraq, where they had been in US military custody, earlier this week.
US Attorney Zachary Terwilliger after the hearing
The UK has agreed to give over evidence that could help secure convictions.
US Attorney General Bill Barr had to agree not to pursue the death penalty in order for the men to be brought to the US to face justice.
They are accused by the State Department of murdering two dozen hostages including Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller, and at least eight other hostages from different countries, including the UK.
The men previously claimed in interviews while they were being held in military custody that they did not take part in the executions.
They were two of four British terrorists within the organization known as the Beatles because of their English accents.
The most prolific was Mohamed Emwazi, better known as Jihadi John. He appeared in beheading videos wearing a black hooded out fit. He was killed in a US drone strike in 2016.
The fourth, Aine Davis, is in a Turkish prison being held on terror charges. Lawyers for the men on Friday said the case was complex and that it would be difficult to communicate with their clients.
The pair are depicted in court sketches completed earlier this week. No cameras are allowed in the courtroom