Islamic State: Relatives of British hostage braced for coming trial

On 22 November this year it will be exactly eight years since the British photojournalist John Cantlie was kidnapped by the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria, along with the American journalist James Foley.

Mr Foley was murdered by his captors. So too were the British and American aid workers and journalists David Haines, Steven Sotloff, Kayla Mueller, Peter Abdurrahman Kassig and Alan Henning.

Mr Cantlie’s fate is still unknown. IS forced him to appear in its propaganda videos, criticising the West in what appeared to be scripted addresses to the camera. But he has not been seen since 2016.

Two of the alleged members of the gang dubbed “The Beatles”, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were captured in 2018. Since then, they have been in a legal limbo but recent developments in the US mean the way is now clear, in theory, for their trial to go ahead in the US.

For the first time, Mr Cantlie’s sister Jessica Pocock has spoken publicly of her eight-year ordeal, telling the BBC of the enormous relief she and the other hostage families feel at finally getting their day in court.

“This” she tells me, “is the first really good thing to have come out of this whole situation”.

“It’s the best thing that could have happened for us,” she says. “We’ve only ever wanted these two (Kotey and Elsheikh) to face justice.”

Continue Reading This Article At BBC News


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