Brother of murdered Briton welcomes IS cell member’s conviction

Show caption David Haines was captured by militants in Syria in March 2013. Photograph: PA UK news Brother of murdered Briton welcomes IS cell member’s conviction Mike Haines says guilt of El Shafee Elsheikh in a US trial provides ‘some closure’ for death of David Haines Caroline Davies Fri 15 Apr 2022 10.07 BST Share on Facebook

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The brother of a British aid worker killed by an Islamic State cell known as “the Beatles” said the conviction of one of their members had closed “an eight-year chapter of pain” for his family.

Mike Haines, whose brother David Haines was captured by militants in Syria in March 2013, welcomed the conviction of El Shafee Elsheikh, 33, in a US court, saying it had “provided us with some closure”.

David Haines’ murder in 2014 by the cell, whose nickname was due to their British accents, was used by them for propaganda. Elsheikh, from London, and fellow cell member Alexanda Kotey will be sentenced later this month.

The cell – also said to be made up of Mohammed Emwazi, the ringleader known as “Jihadi John” who was killed in a drone strike in Raqqu, Syria, in 2015, and Aine Davis, who was convicted by a Turkish court of being a member of a terrorist group – was thought to be responsible for the brutal killings of several western and Japanese captives, including Britons Alan Henning and Haines.

The two British victims did not form part of the indictment against Elsheikh and Kotey, the latter having already admitted his role in the atrocities, because the court was focusing only on US victims.

Elsheikh was convicted of eight counts relating to four US hostages: James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller, after a trial at a US district court in Alexandria, Virginia. It is believed the two may yet face court in the UK for the deaths of British nationals.

Mike Haines, who runs the education charity Global Acts of Unity in honour of his 44-year-old brother, said in a statement: “While nothing can truly compensate for the hole David’s murder left in our hearts, the verdict provides us with some closure and ensures that all three surviving members of the gang involved in my brother’s murder have now faced justice.”

He added:“This unanimous judgment is a triumph for society over ills like terrorism and helps differentiate us from the hateful, divisive ideologies that fuel these individuals. It must also act as a warning to anyone else seduced by the false glamour of extremism.”

Speaking after the conviction, Bethany Haines, the daughter of David Haines, told BBC One: “It was a lot more emotional than I expected. I expected to be happy, excited, but it’s the realisation that he’s guilty, what he’s done to all the families, all the hostages.

“I’ve not slept a full night’s sleep probably since my dad was killed in 2014 so hopefully tonight I’ll get a full night’s sleep.”