My online Threatcon
column was posted on Counterterrorism magazine’s website:
The British agreed to hand over the accused terrorists and provide evidence against them, but the British government insisted that the U.S. agree not to pursue the death penalty in order for the men to be brought to the US to face justice.
Two of the four terrorists are in American custody and are charged with hostage-taking of American citizens in Syria and other terrorism offenses that resulted in the deaths of James Wright Foley, Steven Joel Sotloff, Peter Edward Kassig, and Kayla Jean Mueller. The two have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On October 7th the U.S. Justice Department announced that Alexanda Amon Kotey, 36, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, two militant fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a foreign terrorist organization were expected to be in the U.S. and in FBI custody on charges related to their participation in a brutal hostage-taking scheme that resulted in the deaths of four American citizens, as well as the deaths of British and Japanese nationals, in Syria.
“These charges are the product of many years of hard work in pursuit of
justice for our citizens slain by ISIS. Although we cannot bring them back,
we can and will seek justice for them, their families, and for all
Americans,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Our message to other
terrorists around the world is this — if you harm Americans, you will face
American arms on the battlefield or American law in our courtrooms. Either way,
you will be pursued to the ends of the earth until justice is done.”