Two British Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants have appeared before a court in Virginia in the US, pleading not guilty to charges relating to murder of several American hostages by the terrorist group.
The two accused, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were brought before court on Friday. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested trial by jury. They are expected to appear before court in January to have the date of trial set.
Earlier this week, the duo was charged on eight terrorism-related counts over the killing of four US hostages, two of whom were beheaded on camera. While the terrorists admitted to “interacting” with the hostages “sometimes violently”, both have denied partaking in the killings.
The duo have been dubbed ‘the Beatles’ for their distinctive British accents. Ironically, the US judge who handled the case commended their “very good English” – despite the fact it’s their native language.
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Both El Shafee and Kotey have been stripped of their British citizenship for their decision to join IS. The two were captured by Kurdish-led forces in Syria back in 2018 and later surrendered to Iraq. Despite revoking their citizenship, the UK initially raised concerns over the extradition process, fearing the two might face the death penalty in the US.
The differences were settled last month after the US promised not to execute the terrorists, even if the court sentences them to such punishment. The duo was subsequently surrendered by Iraq to the US.
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