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jihadist tried for letting Yazidi girl die of thirst in Iraq

The lawyers representing the mother of the victim consider this legal procedure as “the first in the world for the crimes committed by the IS against the Yazidi victims”.

She is accused of having left a Yazidi girl in Iraq to die of thirst. A German woman has been on trial since Tuesday April 9 for war crime and murder, in the first trial of its kind against a member of the Islamic State group. Lawyers representing the victim's mother, including Lebanese-British Amal Clooney and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Mourad, regard this legal process as “the first in the world for crimes committed by IS against Yazidi victims”, Kurdish religious minority persecuted and enslaved in Iraq by the jihadists from 2014.

The trial, which began before a Munich court, under high police protection, is scheduled to last until September. The accused, Jennifer Wenisch, 27 years old, faces perpetuity. Long hair tied in a braid, black jacket and white shirt, she entered the courtroom hiding her face behind a red cardboard folder until the cameras left.

Coming from a disadvantaged background, without training and having not completed college, the young woman left Germany to join IS in September 2014. From June to September 2015, according to the prosecution, she was patrolling, armed , for the morals police in Fallujah and Mosul, two Iraqi cities. This force ensured in particular the respect of the rules of conduct and clothing fixed by the jihadists. During the same period, she and her husband bought a 5-year-old girl and her mother from the Yazidi minority from a group of prisoners in order to exploit them as slaves, according to the prosecution.

“One day when the little girl was sick, she wet her mattress [urinating]. The accused's husband punished her by chaining her outside with lead heat, leaving her to die atrociously thirsty “, explains the prosecution in a press release. “The accused left her husband to do and did nothing to save the little girl”, he accuses again.

Defense lawyer Ali Aydin, his client, as a woman, could not have done anything. “It was another country, another culture”, he told reporters on Tuesday. According to the German press, Nora B., the mother of the victim, who now lives as a refugee in Germany, told investigators that the accused had intervened when it was already too late.

Jennifer Wenisch was arrested by the Turkish security services in January 2016 in Ankara, then was extradited to Germany. But she was only detained in June 2018, after being arrested while trying to join with her 2-year-old daughter the territories that ISIS still controlled in Syria. According to the magazine Der Spiegel, it was during this aborted departure that she told her life in Iraq to her driver. The latter was actually an FBI informer who drove her in a car with microphones. The prosecution used these recordings to charge him. She thus confided to him the death of the little girl.

In the recording made without her knowledge, Jennifer Wenisch seems, according to the Spiegel, aware of the seriousness of the abuse inflicted on the child. It was “abused, even for IS”, she would have said. According to the magazine, the Islamic State group physically chastised the husband. According to the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, the man, identified as Taha Sabah Noori Al-J., is believed to be in the Turkish-Iraqi border area.

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