The United Kingdom levied terrorism charges against the alleged “Jihadi Paul,” a notorious Islamic State (IS) fighter who participated in gruesome acts of terrorism with a group of four British IS members collectively known as the “Beatles,” after the well-known British band.
The U.K.’s Metropolitan Police arrested Aine Davis, 38, in Luton Airport Wednesday upon arrival from Turkey, where he has been held in prison since 2014 on suspicion of involvement with the Beatles, according to CNN. Davis, who took on the name Hamza after converting to Islam, was remanded in custody after declining to enter a plea at a hearing before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London Thursday.
A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division said it had “authorized the Metropolitan Police to charge Aine Leslie Junior Davis for terrorism offenses in 2014, and after being deported to England by Turkish authorities,” CNN reported.
Governments have accused the Beatles of abducting 27 journalists and relief workers from around the world, torturing and killing some, including Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller, AFP reported.
Davis has denied affiliation with the terrorist cell, according to CNN.
“I am not ISIS. I went to Syria because there was oppression in my country,” Davis told a Turkish court in 2017.
The court charged Davis with possession of a firearm and soliciting funds, both for the purpose of abetting terrorism. He also allegedly forced his wife to smuggle €20,000 to support his operations in Syria, which resulted in her imprisonment for two years, AFP reported.
A man has been arrested by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command this evening at Luton airport in relation to various terrorism offences. He was taken to a London police station, where he currently remains in custody. https://t.co/sFBR2UVWV6
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) August 10, 2022
The IS Beatles obtained their name because of their British accents, but their use of media to depict brutal hostage beheadings in Syria also attracted worldwide attention, CNN reported. Ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, better known as “Jihadi John,” often hosted the videos, masked and dressed in all black.
A U.S. Hellfire drone strike in 2015 killed Emwazi in 2015.
The U.K. extradited the remaining two members of the cell, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, to the U.S. in 2020, where they were found guilty of charges that include hostage taking, conspiracy to murder U.S. citizens and supporting a foreign terrorist organization, AFP reported.
IS still occupies areas of Syria and has offshoots in Afghanistan and Africa, according to a July United Nations report. The Biden administration continues to conduct counterterrorism operations against the group, supporting a multinational coalition to defeat ISIS the U.S. stood up in 2014.
“ISIL/Da’esh [IS] and its affiliates continue to suffer significant losses in leadership and, while the group still manages between $25-50 million in assets, this amount is significantly less than estimates from three years ago,” Vladimir Voronkov, head of the UN’s counterterrorism office, said at a Security Council briefing Tuesday.
The Metropolitan Police of London, which handles terror cases, referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to its press release on the arrest.
Davis’ lawyer could not be reached for comment, and the Westminister Magistrate’s Court did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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