The mother of murdered journalist James Foley has said she has been told ISIS terrorist ‘Jihadi George’ remains in U.S. custody – despite the Bureau of Prisons confirming he is no longer in their care.
Alexanda Kotey, known as ‘Jihadi George’, has vanished from the state systems while being held in Pennsylvania’s high-profile Canaan prison.
The 39-year-old was incarcerated there after pleading guilty to eight criminal charges relating to the abduction, torture and beheading of Islamic State hostages in Syria between 2012 and 2015.
But the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has confirmed that he is no longer in their custody – sparking concern about his whereabouts – with one expert claiming he may be grilled on ‘where the bodies are’.
Diane Foley said that the Justice Department had reassured their family that Kotey remains in US custody.
A spokesman for told DailyMail.com: ‘The DOJ has told us that Kotey is very much in federal custody in the US.’
Alexanda Kotey, known as ‘Jihadi George’, has vanished from the state systems while being held in Pennsylvania’s high-profile Canaan prison
Diane Foley, pictured during the sentencing of ‘Beatle’ El Shafee Elsheikh in August, said she had been reassured that his fellow terrorist Alexanda Kotey remained in custody
Journalist James Foley, 40, was murdered by the terrorist group in Syria in August 2014
He faced trial in the US in relation to the four American hostages, before being sent to Canaan after being sentenced on eight counts
He was sent to Canaan in August last year, with part of his plea deal including ‘cooperation requirements’.
Kotey’s deal meant that he was able to avoid serving his time at the ADX Florence prison in Colorado – dubbed the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’.
However, less than six months after the sentencing, the BOP confirmed that he is ‘not currently in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons’.
Taxi driver and aide worker David Haines traveled to Syria before being kidnapped, with his daughter Bethany, 24, telling The Scottish Daily Record on Wednesday that she believes Kotey is still in the US penal system.
She said: ‘In the past, he has been traceable, as we have access to data via the U.S. victim notification scheme, and we at least had the reassurance that he was in a high-security facility.
‘I don’t want to think that he has managed to negotiate his way into any kind of easy treatment on the basis of him assisting authorities or anything else.’
They horrified the world after releasing video footage of several of the killings, showing their victims in orange jumpsuits before they were beheaded. Pictured David Haines with his daughter
Kotey no longer shows up on the system as being at the prison, with officials confirming he is not in their custody.
Alexanda Amon Kotey, left, and El Shafee Elsheikh, spoke during an interview with The Associated Press at a security center in Kobani, Syria in March 2019
A national security expert told DailyMail.com: ‘There is a high likelihood he has been moved to a secure location to speak with government officials – or non-government individuals – related to information he may possess that hasn’t been made public.
‘It could relate to the recovery of bodies the group was responsible for while they were illegally held.
‘For instance, U.S. hostages that were killed by the Beatles.’
The BOP would not confirm where Kotey had gone, or why his position had changed, adding that there are ‘several reasons’ why inmates can be moved.
A spokesman said: ‘Inmates who were previously in BOP custody and who have not completed their sentence may be outside BOP custody for a period of time for court hearings, medical treatment or for other reasons.’
The BOP also noted that it does not provide specific details about an inmate due to ‘safety, security, or privacy reasons.’
Dr Joseph Downing, a terrorism expert at London School of Economics, told DailyMail.com that he thought it could be an ‘administrative error’ adding: ‘It does happen regularly in prison systems globally but is not often discussed.
‘For example the wrong inmates are regularly released due to record keeping errors or the wrong inmate being selected or, in some cases even inmates agreeing to try and let someone out to defraud the system for money or status.
A national security expert told DailyMail.com: ‘There is a high likelihood he has been moved to a secure location to speak with government officials – or non-government individuals – related to information he may possess that hasn’t been made public’
Kotey’s deal meant that he was able to avoid serving his time at the ADX Florence prison in Colorado – dubbed the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’
The 39-year-old was incarcerated there after pleading guilty to eight criminal charges relating to the abduction, torture and beheading of Islamic State hostages in Syria between 2012 and 2015
‘You would imagine such a high-security high-profile prisoner would have been double and triple verified daily so a serious lapse or security has been made.
‘However it is highly unlikely that if he is outside he will be out for long due to his high-profile English accent and lack of immigration status and documents.
Dr Downing also said it could be possible the jihadi had cut a deal with the government to turn on ISIS and help them in exchange for parole.
Kotey was a member of ‘The Beatles’ terror group who kidnapped and killed 27 people – targeting westerners because of their allegiance to ISIS.
They horrified the world after releasing video footage of several of the killings, showing their victims in orange jumpsuits before they were beheaded.
Among the group were four Americans, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller – and two Britons.
Slain American journalist James Foley (left) covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria, in 2012 and US aid worker Peter Kassig (right)
The terror cell was said to include Kotey, El Shafee Elsheikh (pictured) and ringleader Mohammed Emwazi , known as Jihadi John, who was killed in a drone strike
Haines daughter met Kotey face-to-face in Virginia last year, where he told her how he had abducted her father and witnesses his torture and murder.
It was part of a deal which will see Kotey transferred to the UK, where members of his family live, to serve the rest of his term after serving 15 years in the US.
He may have also been taken abroad to assist with investigations into another case.
DailyMail.com have contacted the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison Service for a comment.
Kotey went to trial in America after being captured by Kurdish militia in Syria in January 2018, and was handed over to American forces in Iraq in 2020.
He faced trial in the US in relation to the four American hostages, before being sent to Canaan after being sentence on eight counts.
The Islamic State magazine Dubiq announced that Emwazi (pictued) was killed in and American drone strike in November 2015
US freelance journalist Steven Sotloff (left) and US aid worker Kayla Mueller, 26, (right) were both were killed in Syria by ISIS
The terrorist was charged with four counts of hostage-taking resulting in death; conspiracy to commit hostage-taking resulting in death; conspiracy to murder US citizens outside of the US; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, hostage-taking and murder, resulting in death; and conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization resulting in death.
Kotey was one of four terrorist – including El Shafee Elsheikh, Aine Davis, and ringleader Mohammed Emwazi – involved in the terror cell in Syria.
Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, was from West London and was killed in a drone strike – while the others have been forced to face justice for their crimes.
Elsheikh was known as George and Davis as Paul, with the group getting their nickname because of their British accents.
Davis was arrested by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command in August of last year after being released from a Turkish jail where he was serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for membership of the terror group.
Elsheikh was captured alongside Kotey in Syria in 2018 by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces while trying to escape to Turkey.
He was also sentenced to life imprisonment in the US last August after a jury convicted him of hostage-taking resulting in death and other crimes.
Edgar Valdez Villarreal, 49, is no longer in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons – the federal corrections system. He is shown in 2010 shortly before being extradited
He had been at USP Coleman II, a maximum security prison near Orlando
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is urging the Biden administration to explain why he is no longer listed as being in custody
They were the quartet of Islamic State extremists who came to personify the worst excesses of the murderous caliphate which, between 2014 and 2016, conquered vast swathes of Syria and Iraq.
It comes less than a month after Mexican American cartel leader ‘La Barbie’ also went missing from the BOP website.
He, like Kotey, was listed as ‘not in BOP custody’ despite his release date not being until July 2056.
Valdez-Villareal, 49, headed up the Los Negros, an enforcement group of the Beltran Leyva cartel and was at one point a top lieutenant for the Sinaloa Cartel, run by convicted drug dealer Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman-Loera.
He was indicted in the US in 2010 and extradited to the US five years later, where he was found guilty of drug trafficking and money laundering.
The question of why he is no longer in BOP custody was asked at the highest levels of the Mexican government.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a press conference: ‘It’s very strange what is going on in the United States with Mr. Villareal, who is no longer registered among those in custody and we want to know where he is.
‘There is no reason for him to leave prison because he was condemned to many years, unless there was some kind of an agreement.’
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