Diane Foley, Carl and Marsha Mueller, Paula and Ed Kassig Speak After Sentencing of ISIS “Beatle” El Shafee Elsheikh

WASHINGTON – Today James W. Foley Legacy Foundation Founder and President Diane Foley convened a press conference at U.S. District Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, following the sentencing of El Shafee Elsheikh to [life in prison] for his role in the kidnapping of 26 hostages and murders of four, including her son, James Foley. Ms. Foley was joined by Carl and Marsha Mueller, the parents of Kayla Mueller, and Paula and Ed Kassig, the parents of Peter Kassig.

El Shafee Elsheikh, one of a group of Islamic State terrorists called “the Beatles” because of their English accents, was known for torturing and beating its prisoners. He will serve eight concurrent life sentences in federal prison for his convictions in th murders of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and humanitarian workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig.

“The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation welcomes this life sentence for El Shafee Elsheikh,” said Ms. Foley. “In order to deter violent crimes like international kidnapping, torture, and execution of American citizens, we must have accountability. We must have justice. With today’s verdict, justice has finally been served.”

Today’s sentencing falls on the eighth anniversary of James Foley’s murder in Syria. “The anniversary of your child’s murder is a solemn and tragic marker that no family should have to endure,” said Ms. Foley. “Yet the horror of international hostage taking continues for more than 67 U.S. nationals wrongfully detained or held hostage abroad. I urgently call on President Biden to employ our shrewdest negotiation to urgently bring these Americans home, lest they die in captivity as our beautiful, brilliant son tragically died. The only true measure of our resolve as a nation is the actual return of our U.S nationals.”

Carl Mueller, the father of Kayla Mueller, said of the sentencing: “This is just one more step in the process. Marsha and I continue to search for Kayla (her remains). We continue to search for the truth of what happened to her because we don’t know for sure. We want to bring her home. We want to put her on American soil where she belongs.”

Paula Kassig said, “This would not have happened without the efforts of countless people. …. Ed and I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank them all. We extend special thanks to the released hostages who  testified. They taught us a lot about what our son and other hostages endured. And their testimony was essential in proving guilt.”

“We are incredibly grateful to the United States government for making it possible to capture, bring to our country, try, and convict in a court of law the ISIS ‘Beatles’ who barbarically killed our beloved son Steven Sotloff, as well as the children of the other American families involved, Kayla Mueller, James Foley, and Peter Kassig,” Shirley and Arthur Sotloff, who were unable to attend today’s press conference, said in a written statement read by Diane Foley. “The breadth and scope of the work involved in reaching this point of life sentences should be commended. We hope that, in some way, Steven is looking down upon all involved and saying, ‘Thank you!’”

The Foley, Kassig and Mueller families also thanked Justice Department and FBI officials for their tireless work in this case, including Judge Ellis, the FBI agents who investigated and pursued this case, the outstanding attorneys Raj Parekh, Dennis Fitzpatrick, Alicia Cook and Aiden Granos, and victims’ advocate Jennifer Donnaruma. They also welcomed a statement from the Justice Department and Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco:  ISIS ‘Beatle’ Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Hostage-Taking Scheme that Resulted in the Deaths of American, British, and Japanese Citizens

Media Coverage of August 19 Press Conference with Diane Foley, Paula Kassig, Carl and Marsha Mueller