Inside the case against ISIS militants suspected in the deaths of Western hostages – By Eric Tucker (The Associated Press) / Nov 30 2020
WASHINGTON — As two Islamic State militants faced a judge in Virginia last month, Diane Foley listened from home through a muffled phone connection and strained to make out the voices of the men prosecutors say kidnapped her son before he was murdered.
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh stand accused of belonging to an ISIS cell dubbed “the Beatles,” an incongruously lighthearted nickname for British citizens blamed for the jailing, torture and murder of Western hostages in Syria.
After geopolitical breakthroughs and stalemates, military actions in Syria and court fights in London, the Justice Department’s most significant terrorism prosecution in years was finally underway. For Foley, who months earlier had pleaded with Attorney General William Barr to pursue justice by forswearing the death penalty, the fact the case was proceeding at all felt miraculous.
“We’d met so many blocks over the years, I couldn’t believe it was happening,” Foley said. “I was in awe of it, really, and almost didn’t trust it — a bit incredulous. Is this really happening?”