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Two members of Islamic State cell dubbed 'The Beatles' complain of losing UK citizenship

From ITV News and The Telegraph

Two British (they once held British passports - they were not British, and NEVER English) members of the Islamic State, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey, who were allegedly part of a group of British jihadis dubbed 'The Beatles', have complained about having their UK citizenship revoked. Believed to be part of a cell which became notorious for beheading hostages, the two men spoke to the Associated Press from detention in Northern Syria, saying they can't get a fair trial after losing their citizenship.

The cell gained widespread media coverage for torturing and killing several hostages in 2014 and 2015, including American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers. The beheadings of British aid worker David Haines and US journalist James Foley are among the crimes the group is said to have committed. 

One of them said the killings of captives was "regrettable" and could have been avoided.  Though they spoke of their membership in the Islamic State group, they did not admit to belonging to the cell or to have been involved in any of the kidnappings or killings. Elsheikh called the allegations "propaganda."

Elsheikh, whose family came to Britain from Sudan when he was a child, was a mechanic from White City in west London. Kotey, who is of Ghanaian and Greek-Cypriot descent and converted to Islam in his 20s, is from London's Paddington neighborhood.

Elsheikh traveled to Syria in 2012, initially joining al-Qaida's branch before moving on to IS, according to the US State Department's listing of the two men for terrorism sanctions. It said he "earned a reputation for waterboarding, mock executions and crucifixions while serving as an (IS) jailer." Kotey served as a guard for the execution cell and "likely engaged in the group's executions and exceptionally cruel torture methods, including electronic shock and waterboarding," the State Department said.

In the interview, the two men denounced the media for the spreading allegations of the "Beatles" cell, at one point depicting the accusations as concocted as a pretext to kill them with drone strikes in Syria. "No fair trial, when I am 'the Beatle' in the media. No fair trial," Elsheikh said.

They also denounced as "illegal" the British government's decision in February to strip them of citizenship. The revocation of citizenship exposes them to "rendition and torture," Elsheikh said, "being taken to any foreign land and treated in anyway and having nobody to vouch for you. When you have these two guys who don't even have any citizenship ...if we just disappear one day, where is my mom going to go and say where is my son," he said.


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