Kotey declined to comment, but referred to a lengthy letter he submitted to the court. The letter describes that he sometimes felt sympathy for his prisoners, but such feelings, he wrote, were “often brief and ephemeral.” He referred to himself as a soldier who carried out orders and used harsh tactics necessary to fight the United States as part of asymmetric warfare.
While Mr Kotey said in the letter that he took responsibility for his actions and that his own imprisonment and detention had prompted reflection, he made no apologies for his crimes, writing that he was “somewhat reluctant to use terms like regret.” .
As part of his plea deal, Mr. Kotey agrees to meet with the families of the dead hostages and share information with FBI agents and prosecutors, a process that has already begun. If he meets his cooperation requirements, Mr Kotey could be sent to Britain after 15 years to serve the remainder of his life sentence.
Earlier this month, a jury quickly convicted El Shafee Elsheikh, 33, another Islamic State militant believed to be a member of the Beatles, on four hostage charges and four conspiracy charges related to the deaths of Americans.
During the trial of Mr. Elsheikh, Raj Parekh, the US’s first assistant attorney, told Mr. Kotey and Mr. Elsheikh were terrorists and brothers-in-arms who were fond of sadism and deeply involved in the kidnapping plan.
“The evidence shows that they grew up together, radicalized together, fought together as high-ranking ISIS fighters, held hostages together, tortured and terrorized hostages together,” Parekh said. “And after Emwazi was killed, Elsheikh and Kotey were eventually captured together in Syria.”
Prosecutors told how the hostages were beaten and waterboarded and endured mock executions. A Danish hostage was shot 25 times in the ribs on his 25th birthday, Parekh said. Some were released after ransoms were paid.