A trial date has been set for two British ISIS activists known as the “Beatles” accused of torturing and beheading Americans and Europeans in Syria.
A federal judge in Virginia has set a tentative date of January 2022 for the trial of El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexandra Amon Kotey.
The men, along with other ISIS militants from Britain, formed a group of fighters that became known as the “Beatles” because of their English accents.
The UK only agreed to send the men back to the US for prosecution after then Attorney General William Barr agreed not to seek the death penalty.
According to Assistant US Attorney Dennis Fitzpatrick, “the government wants to bring the case to court as soon as possible.”
Mr Fitzpatrick told The Associated Press that the government has already provided defense lawyers for the men with more than 5,900 pages of documents and 27 hard drives or disks of evidence.
According to Mr. Fitzpatrick, Friday was the first time defense attorneys had met their clients due to medical concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
The activists are accused of detaining more than 20 Western hostages in 2014 and 2015 in Syria, torturing many of them. The group is accused of beheading seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers operating in the country.
ISIS fighters posted propaganda videos of the executions and called on the United States to end its airstrikes in Syria.
James Foley, an American journalist, was the first to be killed by the group. The activists also killed Americans Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig and were allegedly involved in the deaths of Kayla Mueller, as well as British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and Japanese journalists Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.
In a joint statement, the families of Americans killed said, “Now our families can sue these crimes against our children in a US court.
“The extradition and trial of Kotey and ElSheikh to the United States will be the first step in pursuing justice for the alleged horrific human rights crimes against these four young Americans, who witnessed the suffering of Syrian people and wanted to help, whether by providing humanitarian aid or by informing the world about the development of the Syrian crisis. “
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