LONDON: Daesh “Beatle” El Shafee El-Sheikh has avoided serving prison time in a US supermax prison after being moved to a lesser penitentiary following conviction, The Mirror reported.
The terrorist, who grew up in Britain and had his citizenship stripped in 2018, was part of the four-man Daesh terror group dubbed the “Beatles” that carried out brutal high-profile killings during Syria’s civil war.
But after being convicted in the US, the 34-year-old has avoided being transferred to Colorado’s ADX Florence — the country’s most notorious supermax prison — as was expected.
Instead, the Sudan-born terrorist is being held at nearby USP Florence High, where he will stay as part of the general prison population rather than in solitary confinement.
Earlier this year in August, El-Sheikh’s legal team argued during sentencing that due to mental health issues, the man dubbed “Jihadi Ringo” should serve time in a lesser prison.
“Sending Mr. El-Sheikh, an individual who is already showing signs of mental and physical deterioration from his present and past detention, to ADX Florence, is not an appropriate sentence,” they said.
However, trial judge Thomas Selby Ellis dismissed the plea at the time.
El-Sheikh was found guilty on eight charges, including four counts of hostage-taking resulting in death, murder conspiracy and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
The “Beatles” group was responsible for the killings of British volunteers David Haines and Alan Henning, as well as US aid workers Kayla Mueller, James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig.
A US prison source told The Mirror: “Quite how El-Sheikh avoided the supermax, none of the victim’s families know.
“They were sure he was to see out his days at ADX, but they have now been told he has been sent to the lesser penitentiary. It’s a huge kick in the teeth.”
The source added: “The supermax is reserved for the worst of the worst, and El-Sheikh’s CV shows he is more than qualified.
“But he has avoided being kept alongside some of the world’s most dangerous men and dying alone.
“While El-Sheikh’s cohort (Alexanda) Kotey admitted his guilt, he thought he would beat the system and fool a jury over his innocence. They saw through his lies, and now payback has begun.”
Prisoners held at Florence High have included US serial killer Gary Ridgway, as well as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers.