Brother of murdered Scots aid worker David Haines welcomes guilty verdict of Isis terrorist

The brother of murdered Scots aid worker David Haines has spoken out after a British member of an ISIS terror group was convicted for his role in a hostage-taking scheme.

El Shafee Elsheikh has been standing trial in the US after he was accused of helping to kidnap four American hostages, who were all later killed.

The 33-year-old showed no emotion as a jury in Virginia found him guilty on eight counts, confirming their belief that he was one of the notorious torturers known as the “Beatles”.

The feared trio earned the nickname because of their accents and were known for their cruelty – beating prisoners, forcing them to fight each other until they collapsed and even making them sing cruel song parodies.

El Shafee Elsheikh. Elsheikh is now facing a life sentence

Brave David Haines, from Perth, tragically lost his life at the hands of the twisted terror cell in September, 2014, after being kidnapped from a Syrian aid camp the previous year.

The 44-year-old’s brother, Mike Haines, has welcomed the conviction of El Shafee Elsheikh and described it as: “A triumph for society over the ills of terrorism and extremism”.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “It brings to a close a nine-year-long chapter of pain for my family.

“Justice was not something ever afforded to my brother or others who were killed by these men, but it’s only right that we put these men on trial for their crimes.

“By successfully trying and convicting these men of their crimes, it’s a triumph for society over ills like terrorism and extremism.

“A long prison sentence will, hopefully, determine others from following this same path.”

Brother Mike Haines
Brother Mike Haines

We previously told how David’s daughter, Bethany Haines, plans to travel to Syria on a quest to find her father’s remains.

The 24-year-old received a tip-off from a mystery man who gave her map coordinates of the exact location where the body of her father is thought to be.

Elsheikh, who stood motionless and gave no visible reaction as the verdict was read, now faces up to a life sentence in prison.

US and British authorities have said the ISIS cell was responsible for 27 killings, which also included David and Alan Henning as well as American aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.

A surviving witness, Federico Motka, told the trial about a time in the summer of 2013 when he and cellmate David Haines were put in a room with American hostage James Foley and British hostage John Cantlie for what they called a “Royal Rumble.”

The losers were told they would be waterboarded. Weak from hunger, two of the four passed out during the hour-long battle.

Bethany Haines, the daughter of hostage David Haines slain by Islamic State militants, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan Federal Courthouse during the trial of IS member El Shafee Elsheikh, the
Bethany Haines, the daughter of hostage David Haines slain by Islamic State militants, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan Federal Courthouse during the trial of IS member El Shafee Elsheikh, the “Beatle”

The convictions on all eight counts in US District Court in Alexandria revolved around the deaths of four American hostages: Mr Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.

All but Ms Mueller were executed in videotaped beheadings circulated online.

Ms Mueller was forced into slavery and raped multiple times by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before she was killed.

They were among 26 hostages taken captive between 2012 and 2015, when the Islamic State group controlled large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Defense lawyers acknowledged that Elsheikh joined the Islamic State group, but said prosecutor failed to prove he was a Beatle.

They cited a lack of clarity about which Beatle was which, and back in the trial’s opening statement cited the confusion about whether there were three or four Beatles.

Prosecutors said there were three – Elsheikh and his friends Alexenda Kotey and Mohammed Emwazi, who all knew each other in England before joining the Islamic State.

Emwazi, who as known as “Jihadi John” and carried out the executions, was later killed in a drone strike.

Kotey and Elsheikh were captured together in 2018 and brought to Virginia in 2020 to face trial after the US promised not to seek the death penalty.

Kotey pleaded guilty last year in a plea bargain that calls for a life sentence but leaves open the possibility that he could serve out his sentence in the United Kingdom after 15 years in the US.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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