British national Alexanda Amon Kotey, charged in a US court in connection to the kidnapping, torture and beheadings of US, European and Japanese hostages, has been scheduled for a change of plea hearing. Kotey and another British citizen, El Shafee Elsheikh, were extradited from Iraq to the US last year to face charges of joining the Islamic State group and conspiring to torture and kill hostages in Syria. Among the American victims that their ISIS cell allegedly murdered were American Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, journalist James Foley, and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller. The change of plea hearing is to be held on Thursday in the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. The US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces captured the defendants in Syria in 2018. Neither faces the death penalty – then-US Attorney General William Barr took this off the table to secure their extradition. Their captives called the two ISIS members – along with cell member Mohamed Emwazi, dubbed “Jihadi John,” who was killed in a drone strike in 2015 and a fourth member imprisoned in Turkey – “the Beatles” due to their British accents. Emwazi delivered English-language diatribes to the camera in a thick British accent before beheading his victims, including Sotloff and Foley.
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