WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement from Jen Judson, President of the National Press Club and Gil Klein, President of the National Press Club Journalism Institute on the sentencing of ISIS Terrorist El Shafee Elsheikh in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. today.
“Eight years ago today we lost journalist James Foley to a cowardly and violent act by El Shafee Elsheikh, the man convicted of kidnapping and murdering him in Syria. In the years following there have been tears and heartbreak for the Foley family and the journalism community. During that time the wheels of justice were turning slowly for Elsheikh and the other terrorists known collectively as “The Beatles” because of their British accents. In 2018 he was captured. After an extradition process, he came to the U.S. to stand trial. He was convicted of the murder of James Foley on April 14. Today he was sentenced to eight concurrent life sentences.
Our hearts are with Jim’s family today – including his mother and advocate Diane, who, we are honored to have as a member of the National Press Club. Justice is important to the Foley family and they have waited a long time for it to arrive, as it did today. While we know this does not bring their son – our colleague — home to them, we also know that they have worked hard for this day and we appreciate the significance for them and for all journalists.
We think this trial demonstrated something very powerful for journalists who are at risk of being held hostage. At one point, Elsheikh found himself facing some of the 26 hostages he had held during his time in Syria. He had beaten and tortured them, but they had been ransomed and freed. They had recovered and they found their way to an American courtroom where they looked their former captor in the eye. What this tells us is that when a hostage is released with concessions like ransom or a prisoner swap or anything else, it does not mean that justice is forgone for the hostage taker. In this case hostages obtained freedom through negotiation and lived to see their tormentor convicted and sentenced and ultimately imprisoned. Let us please not lose sight of this important lesson when we hear that the United States cannot negotiate or make concessions for hostages. It can and it must do so while preserving the path to ultimate justice.”
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. With 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization, the Club is a leading voice for press freedom in the U.S. and worldwide.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. As the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club, the Institute powers journalism in the public interest.
Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534 for the National Press Club
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SOURCE National Press Club