An Islamic State member is sentenced to life in prison in the deaths of hostages

The Associated Press


El Shafee Elsheikh has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the deaths of four U.S. hostages captured by the Islamic State.
Alexandria Sheriff’s Office via AP, File

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — British national El Shafee Elsheikh was sentenced to life in prison Friday for his role in an Islamic State scheme that took roughly two dozen Westerners hostage a decade ago.

El Shafee Elsheikh has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the deaths of four U.S. hostages captured by the Islamic State.

Elsheikh’s hostages gave him a somewhat whimsical nickname — he was dubbed a “Beatle” along with other English-accented captors — but the moniker belied the viciousness of his conduct.

“This prosecution unmasked the vicious and sadistic ISIS Beatles,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh, noting that Elsheikh and the other Beatles always wore masks when they appeared in front of their hostages.

He is the most notorious and highest-ranking member of the Islamic State group to ever be convicted in a U.S. court, prosecutors said Friday at his sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. The life sentence was a foregone conclusion after a jury convicted him of hostage taking resulting in death and other crimes earlier this year.

The convictions revolved around the deaths of four American hostages: James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller. All but Mueller were executed in videotaped beheadings circulated online. Mueller was forced into slavery and raped multiple times by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before she was killed.

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