ISIS Beatle: Mothers of slain Americans James Foley and Kayla Mueller deliver emotional testimony


Retired British national El Shafee Elsheikh, 33, the trial continued on Tuesday.
The mother of a slain American aid employee became emotional as she explained in court on Tuesday how she and her spouse pleaded for understanding in a video message to the head of the terrorist group ISIS.
In her deposition during the practice of former British national El Shafee Elsheikh, 33 – an indicted ISIS terrorist – Marsha Mueller, they recounted how she and her husband pushed for years to save their daughter, Kayla, who the terrorist group had kidnaped while she was on a journey with her boyfriend to the Syrian metropolis of Aleppo in August 2013.
Kayla was later moved to marry ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who raped her. She was then killed in February 2015 at the age of 26.
Mueller testified on Tuesday that the jihadis had reportedly demanded 5 million euros – or about $5.4 million – for Kayla’s release. Still, because they did not have that kind of money, she and her husband desperately tried for years to plead with the leaders of the terrorist group for her safe return.

At one point, she said, she and her husband even sent a video message to al-Baghdadi, in which Mrs. Mueller pleaded: ‘I am coming to you with a mother’s heart for the love of her daughter.
‘Kayla is not your enemy,’ she continued in the video, shown to a jury in Alexandria, Virginia, where Elsheikh stands accused of torturing and killing four Americans in Syria. ‘I ask from her mother’s heart that you show your mercy and release our daughter.’
Elsheikh, 33, is accused of involvement in Kayla’s murder – as well as aid worker Peter Kassig and American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
As part of the trial in Alexandria, Virginia, Marsha was asked on Tuesday to verify emails between her family and Kayla’s kidnappers.
According to the Independent, the first email came from Kayla’s kidnappers on May 23, 2013, and said, ‘We do not want to harm her. She is like a guest with us at the moment.’
Marsha said she was at first relieved that the kidnappers reached out because it meant they could start negotiations to get her back.

She and her husband, Carl, then worked with the FBI to craft responses to the terrorist organization, the Independent reports, with the FBI telling them that all emails should be signed by Carl as the terrorists would show him more respect.
The Obama administration had reportedly reassured their family that ‘I.S. won’t harm a woman.’
Soon, Marsha said, the kidnappers demanded a large sum of money or the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national now serving an 86-year sentence after being convicted in 2010 of trying to shoot U.S. military officers while she was in Afghanistan.
Marsha testified that she and her husband replied: ‘We are a family of modest means and are concerned because you are asking for a great deal of money that is more than we could earn in several lifetimes.’
They also reportedly told the captors that they did not influence the American government to force Siddiqui’s release. Still, Kayla’s captors wrote back, ‘get back to work,’ the BBC reported.
By July 12, 2014, the emails – shown in court on Tuesday – reveal that ISIS gave the Muellers just 30 days to come up with the money or secure Siddiqui’s release.

‘If you fail to meet this deadline, we will send you a picture of Kayla’s dead body,’ they wrote.
At that point, Marsha said she and her husband should sign all future emails.
‘I told the negotiators I was going to write something myself,’ she said in court. ‘Because I’m Kayla’s mom, I needed to sign it.’
From then on, the family reportedly made repeated pleas to the kidnappers, ultimately sending the video message on September 16, 2014.
But by February 2015, Marsha testified, she and her husband began to hear reports that their daughter had been killed.
They then emailed the terrorist group asking for confirmation, to which they responded: ‘The news regarding your daughter’s death is indeed true.’
The terrorists allegedly claimed the Jordanian air force bombed a house where Kayla was staying – but prosecutors have called that into question given ISIS’ history of executing American hostages.

The email also included photos of Kayla’s body, which Marsha was forced to describe to the jury.
Her heartbreaking testimony followed that of Kayla’s ex-boyfriend Rodwan Safarjalani, a Syrian national kidnapped along with Kayla in 2013 when she was working as a consultant with the Turkish humanitarian group Support to Life.
Safarjalani claimed in court they were taken by men wearing ‘all black’ and were separated, according to The Telegraph.
He said he was beaten and interrogated for about one month before he was released. He later returned to try to find Kayla, claiming she was his wife.
By the time the court broke for lunch Tuesday, Safarjalani had shouted at Elsheikh, saying he would be going to ‘hell.’
According to Washington Post reporter Rachel Weiner, Aging U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III warned Alkhani but declined to ban him from the court, explaining: ‘It was not a threat, it was a prediction.’

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Olivia Wilson
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