Former Islamic State Hostages Testify to Cruelty of British-Accented Guards

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—When Federico Motka got on the witness stand to testify last week in the trial of Islamic State member El Shafee Elsheikh, he shared vivid memories about three prison guards who spoke with east London accents and dominated his 14 months as a hostage when the terrorist group controlled much of Syria.

One had a specific scent and would sometimes wrap a scarf around his head, said Mr. Motka, an aid worker from Italy. Another described stealing mopeds in London and could debate the differences between Islam and Christianity. He testified that he once saw the shadows of two of the guards’ faces through the cell hatch in the twilight hours.

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