Two Britons who had joined the Islamic State in Syria first appeared in court in the United States. El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are, among other things, charged with hostage taking resulting in death and support for terrorists.
Called The Beatles by hostages for their British accent, the two Britons were involved in the beheading of at least four American hostages, including American journalist James Foley.
During his first brief appearance in court in Alexandria, Virginia, Elsheikh raised questions about his legal status. He wanted to know if he had been arrested. The answer was in the affirmative.
When asked if he wanted to hire his own lawyer or be assigned one, he said he didn’t know how to answer. “I don’t know. I haven’t had time to consult,” he said via video link to Alexandria prison.
Kotey also asked about his status. “I’m just waiting to be told what’s going on. This is all strange to me.”
Prosecutor Dennis Fitzpatrick said five of the eight counts in the indictment against the men carry a life sentence if convicted.