Former ISIS militant Alexanda Kotey is facing life in prison after he admitted to his part in the kidnapping and murder of British, American and Japanese citizens
The father of a journalist beheaded by the group of ISIS militants nicknamed “the Beatles” has welcomed “a little bit of justice” after one of the terrorists is facing life in prison after he pleaded guilty to abhorrent crimes in court.
Art Sotloff, the father of Steven Sotloff, watched as Alexanda Amon Kotey admitted his guilt at the US District Court in Virginia on Thursday, exactly seven years after the brutal murder.
The 31-year-old American-Israeli journalist was kidnapped in Syria and tortured before Mohammed Emwazi – known as ‘Jihadi John’ – beheaded him in September 2014 and footage of the murder was shared online.
Kotey, a 37-year-old grew up in London and was known as Jihadi Ringo, was involved in the kidnapping and detention of Mr Sotloff, and three other American citizens who all died while they were being held hostage.
Mr Sotloff told Local10 : “I felt him (his son) there in the courtroom with me and I could see him smiling because finally there was a little bit of justice.
“Seven years to the day. What are the odds 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 he spoke about torturing hostages and he was “cool, calm and collected like he was talking about baseball,”
His four-man group, known as the Beatles because they spoke with British accents, also allegedly kidnapped and murdered Brits David Haines and Alan Henning and Japanese citizens Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, before sharing graphic footage of the executions online.
The United States Department of Justice says Kotey and other members of ISIS engaged in “prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence against hostages” and their actions were “intended to compel the victims’ family members and the U.S. government to pay large monetary ransoms for their release”.
Kotey pleaded guilty to four counts of hostage taking resulting in death, conspiracy to commit hostage taking resulting in death, conspiracy to murder United States citizens outside of the United States, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists – hostage taking and murder – resulting in death and conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation resulting in death.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko said Kotey “will 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 strike in Syria in 2015 and Kotey was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces in 2018 when he was attempting to flee to Turkey with his co-defendent El Shafee Elsheikh, who is known as Jihadi George.
Aine Lesley Davis, known as ‘Jihadi Paul’, was sentenced to seven and a half years in a Turkish prison in 2017.