December 4, 2022

A British man accused of being part of an Islamic State (IS) kidnapping and murder cell known as the “Beatles” has been charged with terrorism offenses after he returned to the UK, police said Thursday.

“A 38-year-old man has been charged with several terrorist offenses following an investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command,” police said in a statement.

The Metropolitan Police, which lead counter-terror investigations in the UK, have officially named the man Aine Davis and said he has been remanded in custody.

They said they arrested Davis after he landed at Luton airport on a flight from Turkey.

The suspect, who has no permanent address, was due to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London on Thursday morning.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it authorized police to charge Davis with alleged offenses, including “possession of a firearm for a purpose related to terrorism.”

He is said to have been a member of the IS cell that held dozens of foreign hostages in Syria between 2012 and 2015, known as the ‘Beatles’ to their prisoners because of their British accents.

Davis converted to Islam and took the name Hamza, the CPS said in a statement. He said he had been deported to the UK by the Turkish authorities.

The four members of the “Beatles” are accused of kidnapping at least 27 journalists and aid workers from the United States, Britain, Europe, New Zealand, Russia and Japan.

Two have already been brought to trial and one has been killed.

They were all allegedly involved in the murders of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well as aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.

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The quartet allegedly tortured and killed the four American victims, including by beheading, and IS has released videos of the killings for propaganda purposes.

Alexanda Kotey, a 38-year-old former British citizen who was extradited from the UK to the US in 2020 to face charges there, pleaded guilty to his role in the murders last September and was sentenced to life in prison in April.

El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, another former British subject who was also extradited to the US at the same time, was found guilty of all charges in April and will be sentenced next week.

wife jailed

The other “Beatles” executioner, Mohamed Emwazi, was killed by a US drone in Syria in 2015.

Elsheikh and Kotey were captured by a Kurdish militia in Syria in January 2018 and handed over to US forces in Iraq before being sent to Britain.

They were eventually flown to Virginia in 2020 to be charged with hostage-taking, conspiracy to murder American citizens and supporting a foreign terrorist organization.

Davis was serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence in Turkey for membership in the terrorist group, according to reports.

In 2014, his wife Amal El-Wahabi became the first person in Britain to be convicted of financing IS jihadists after she sent him 20,000 euros, $25,000 at the time, in Syria.

She was jailed for 28 months and seven days after a trial in which Davis was described as a drug dealer before going to Syria to fight ISIS.

In 2015, an arrest warrant was issued by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court for the arrest of Davis for possession of a firearm for suspected terrorist purposes between 2013 and 2014, the CPS said.

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The arrest warrant also referred to the solicitation and passing of money when it was known or suspected that it would be used for “terrorist purposes,” according to the CPS.

(AFP)