An Italian humanitarian worker held captive by ISIS’s ruthless torturers called “The Beatles” said he was forced to fight other hostages until they passed out under a brutal “punishment regime” imposed by his perpetrators.
Federico Motka, who was held by UK-born ISIS torturers for 14 months, testified of harrowing slavery on Thursday at the terrorist trial of El Shafee Elsheikh, a UK national who allegedly led a plan to kidnap more than 20 hostages from the West and 2015.
Motka, who was captured near the Turkish-Syrian border in 2013, said the hostages were thrown into what they called a “box” – where they were tortured and treated like animals.
“They gave us the names of the dogs. We had to come and react immediately “to the name to avoid being beaten,” he recalled.
Four Americans were also among the group’s hostages, including journalists James Foley and Steven Soloff, as well as humanitarian workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.
Motka is the first living hostage to testify at the Elsheikh trial in Alexandria, Virginia.
An aid worker described in court how his cruel torturers – whom they called John, George and Ringo because of their British accent – had imposed a long “punishment regime” on their prisoners.
Motka said he was forced to enter a room in a “box” with Foley and another British hostage, John Cantil, to win a “Royal Rumble” fight.
“They were very excited,” testified Motka. “We were so weak and broken that we could barely raise our arms.”
The group was informed that the losers would be drowned, and that two of the forced fighters had passed out during the 60-minute battle, recalls Motka.
An aid worker said he was presumed a loser but was beaten instead of waterboarding – although he was brutally tortured at other times during his captivity, he testified.
Motka said in court that another man nicknamed “Punisher” also tortured them on a regular basis.
Motka, who was released in May 2014, said he was also beaten with a cable during his captivity, CNN reports.
“There wasn’t a minute of peace,” he said.
Prosecutors said in court that Elsheikh was a kidnapper, nicknamed Ringo.
Motka said he had a problem distinguishing his torturers because they tried so hard to hide their faces, but tried to distinguish them based on their preferences regarding punishment.
“George was more interested in boxing,” testified Motka. “John, he was digging a lot. Ringo said how he likes wrestling. He put people in blocks.
Virginia prosecutors cited three British nationals in their introductory statements: Elsheikh, Alexanda Amon Kotey and Mohammed Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John”.
Emwazi was killed in a drone attack, while Kotey pleaded guilty in September in Virginia, receiving a life sentence without parole.
Four Americans taken hostage were killed. Foley, Sotloff and Kassig were beheaded and Mueller was forced into captivity and raped by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before he was killed.
With post wires