Alleged member of ISIS ‘Beatles’ charged in U.K. with terrorism

LONDON — An alleged member of an Islamic State group cell nicknamed “the Beatles” that tortured and killed Western hostages was charged with terrorism offenses in Britain on Thursday after being deported from Turkey.

Aine Davis, 38, appeared in a London court after being arrested Wednesday night when he arrived on a flight from Turkey and was charged with offenses under the Terrorism Act, the Metropolitan Police Service said.

Davis, from Hammersmith in west London, was accused of persuading his wife to try and smuggle around $20,000 to him in Syria, using a friend who hid the money in her panties.

He was also accused of possessing a firearm for terrorist purposes after posing with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in pictures he sent to his wife in Britain.

During his appearance Thursday at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring ordered Davis held in custody until his next court appearance Sept. 2. Davis spoke briefly to confirm his name and date of birth; he wasn’t asked to enter a plea.

A court artist sketch of Aine Davis appearing in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Thursday.Elizabeth Cook / AP

He was arrested in Turkey in 2015 and convicted of membership in ISIS in 2017. During his trial there, he denied being one of “the Beatles.”

The militants, dubbed “the Beatles” by their captives because of their British accents, held about two dozen Westerners a decade ago, when ISIS controlled a large swath of Syria and Iraq.

Several of the captives were killed in gruesome beheadings that were broadcast online, including Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff and Britons David Haines and Alan Henning.

The group’s four alleged members knew one another in west London before traveling to the Middle East and joining ISIS. 

Mohammed Emwazi, who carried out the executions and was nicknamed “Jihadi John,” was killed in a drone strike in 2015. Two others, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were captured by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in 2018 and are imprisoned in the United States. 

Kotey, 38, was jailed for life in Virginia in April, after admitting kidnap, conspiracy to murder and providing material support for terrorism. Elsheikh, 33, was found guilty following a trial in the U.S. and will be sentenced later this year.

During his trial in Turkey, Davis said he believed he had been linked to Emwazi because the men had attended the same mosque in London.

He had traveled to Syria earlier in the country’s civil war to participate in aid work but had mostly been living in Turkey, he told the Turkish court, dismissing images showing him posing with armed militants and weapons as “stupid photos” that he had posed for as a joke.

Davis’ wife, Amal el-Wahabi, was jailed for two years and four months in November 2014 for trying to smuggle the $20,000 to Davis, using a friend as a courier.

Her friend, Nawal Msaad, a university student, was cleared by a jury at the Old Bailey after she told them she did not know what the money was for.

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