Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism –Guardian reported, the trial against the accused Islamic State fighter El Shafee Elsheikh began on American soil and jurors in a northern Virginia courtroom were quickly exposed to accounts of unimaginable brutality.
Elsheikh, prosecutors alleged, carried out terrorist acts that involved the grisly deaths of four Americans – the journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well as the aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.
Elsheikh, a former British national, allegedly did so as part of a three-man cell dubbed “the Beatles” by the group’s hostages, due to their English accents. Officials have said that this cell was responsible for the kidnappings of more than 20 westerners between 2012 and 2015.
IS members decapitated Foley, Kassig, and Sotloff. The leader of IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, repeatedly raped Mueller before she was killed.
Legal experts told the Guardian that Elsheikh’s trial would help provide a sense of justice to victims’ families and show that international terrorism cases can, and should, be held in US civilian courts – an important precedent.
David Viola, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Center on Terrorism, said Elsheikh’s trial demonstrated that the US could get justice through the legal process, not solely by relying on military force.