Two alleged members of a notorious Islamic State cell dubbed “the Beatles” that took hostage, tortured and killed four US citizens pleaded not guilty on Friday and waived their right to a speedy trial.

El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey will remain in custody as their case works its way through the court in Virginia.

The two were flown to the US this week after being formally indicted on a range of charges.

They were captured more than two years ago by US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria and were later transferred to holding cells in the Middle East.

They have both been stripped of their British citizenship. In exchange for evidence from Britain, the US has
promised not to seek the death penalty in the case.

One of the cell’s tactics was to behead civilians after making them kneel on the ground dressed in orange

jumpsuits. Videos of the killings were distributed via social media. Prisoners gave their four jailers the moniker the Beatles because of their British accents.

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