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Ex-IS member guilty of genocide for chaining up Yazidi girl to die in the sun

Defendant convicted in a German court after enslaving a Yazidi woman and her five-year-old daughter

In a landmark verdict, a former member of the Islamic State group has been found guilty of genocide by a German court over the death of a five-year-old Yazidi girl he had bought as a slave and then chained up in the hot sun to die.

Nov 30, 2021: A #Frankfurt court handed a life sentence to an #Iraqi man who joined the Islamic State group for genocide against the #Yazidi minority, in the first verdict worldwide to use the label. France 24 Emmanuelle Chaze tells us more.

The Frankfurt regional court also convicted Taha Al-J of crimes against humanity, war crimes and bodily harm resulting in death. The 29-year-old was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay the girl’s mother €50,000 (£42,600).

German news agency dpa quoted the presiding judge, Christoph Koller, saying it was the first genocide conviction worldwide over a person’s role in the systematic persecution by IS of the Yazidi religious minority.

The court said judges concluded that Al-J – whose last name was not released because of privacy laws – acted with the intention of eradicating Yazidis, thereby constituting genocide.

Lawyers for the defendant had denied the allegations made against their client, who briefly fainted as the verdict was read out on Tuesday.

Oct 25, 2021: In Germany, an ISIS bride who had joined Islamic State in Iraq has been sentenced to ten years in prison for her role in the death of a five-year-old Yazidi girl, who died of thirst, enslaved by terrorists.

His German wife was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison over the girl’s death.

The girl’s mother, who survived captivity, testified at both trials and took part as a co-plaintiff.

“This is the moment Yazidis have been waiting for,” said lawyer Amal Clooney, who acted as a counsel for the mother. “To finally hear a judge, after seven years, declare that what they suffered was genocide. To watch a man face justice for killing a Yazidi girl – because she was Yazidi.”

Zemfira Dlovani, a lawyer and member of Germany’s Central Council of Yazidis, also welcomed the verdict.

“We can only hope that it will serve as a milestone for further cases to follow,” she told the Associated Press, noting that thousands of Yazidi women were enslaved and mistreated by IS. “This should be the beginning, not the end.”

Apr 12, 2021: Almost seven years after ISIS waged a genocidal campaign of violence against the Yazidi people of northern Iraq, they are still waiting for justice and help. Hundreds of thousands are displaced and many believe without international assistance, there is no path forward to rebuild their lives.

The United Nations has called the IS assault on the Yazidis’ ancestral homeland in northern Iraq in 2014 a genocide, saying the Yazidis’ 400,000-strong community “had all been displaced, captured or killed”. Of the thousands captured by IS, boys were forced to fight for the extremists, men were executed if they didn’t convert to Islam – and often executed in any case – and women and girls were sold into slavery.

According to German prosecutors, Al-J bought a Yazidi woman and her five-year-old daughter, Reda, as slaves at an IS base in Syria in 2015. The two had been taken as prisoners by the militants from the northern Iraqi town of Kocho at the beginning of August 2014 and had been “sold and resold several times as slaves” by the group already.

The defendant took the woman and her daughter to his household in the Iraqi city of Fallujah and forced them to “keep house and to live according to strict Islamic rules”, while giving them insufficient food and beating them regularly to punish them, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors allege that toward the end of 2015, Al-J chained the girl to the bars of a window in the open sun on a day where it reached 50C (122 Fahrenheit) and she died from the punishment. The punishment was allegedly carried out because the child had wet the bed.

Al-J was arrested in Greece two years ago and extradited to Germany.

German authorities took on the case under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows the country to try particularly serious crimes even if they were committed elsewhere and there is no direct link to Germany.

Aug 8, 2020: When the ‘Islamic State’ attacked the Yazidi community in Sinjar in northwestern Iraq in 2014, it planted hundreds of thousands of landmines and other explosive devices in homes, buildings and fields that remained when the ‘IS’ was pushed out of Sinjar in 2017. The documentary ‘Into the Fire’ shines light on a group of Yazidi women who undertake the high-risk task of demining the explosives with help from the UK’s Mines Advisory Group.

Nobel peace prize laureate Nadia Murad, who is herself a survivor of atrocities committed by IS, said the verdict was “a win for survivors of genocide, survivors of sexual violence, and the entire Yazidi community”.

“Germany is not only raising awareness about the need for justice, but is acting on it,” she said in a statement. “Their use of universal jurisdiction in this case can and should be replicated by governments around the world.”


Published by amongthefray

News with a historical perspective. Fighting against misinformation, hate, and revisionist history.

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