Brits accused in beheading of hostages plead not guilty
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Two British men charged with helping the Islamic State group carry out executions and ransom negotiations for Western hostages pleaded not guilty Friday in a federal court. At a brief hearing Friday in the court just outside Washington, D.C., the two men pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial. No trial date was set after both men waived their right to a speedy trial because of the case's complexity. A status hearing was set for Jan. 15 to set a trial date then. “This involves a long investigation involving multiple countries,” Fitzpatrick said when asked about the volume of evidence that must be weighed.
US charges British IS members in deaths of American hostages
El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are two of four men who were dubbed “the Beatles” by the hostages because of the captors' British accents. The charges are a milestone in a yearslong effort by U.S. authorities to bring to justice members of the group known for beheadings and barbaric treatment of aid workers, journalists and other hostages in Syria. “If you have American blood in your veins or American blood on your hands, you will face American justice,” said Demers, the department's top national security official. The indictment charges the men in connection with the deaths of four American hostages — Foley, journalist Steven Sotloff and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller — as well as European and Japanese nationals who were also held captive. In July 2014, according to the indictment, Elsheikh described to a family member his participation in an IS attack on the Syrian Army.