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Widow of high-ranking 'Islamic State' minister charged in death of aid worker

A court in Virginia charged the wife of a dead 'Islamic State' leader with conspiracy in the death of American Kayla Mueller. She was killed a year ago while being held hostage in Syria.

Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar, also known as Umm Sayyaf, admitted to FBI agents last year that "IS" head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "owned" Mueller during her captivity at Sayyaf's residence.

The 25-year-old told them that "owning" the aid worker was equivalent to enslaving her, according to the complaint.

Officials said Mueller was repeatedly forced to have sex with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the jihadist group.

Sayyaf, who is currently in Iraqi custody and facing prosecution there for terrorism-related activities, has been charged in a federal court in the US state of Virginia.

The charges amounted to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization that resulted in a person's death, and carry a maximum sentence of life in prison upon conviction.

Her husband Abu Sayyaf was reportedly a high-ranking IS official who reported to al Baghdadi. He was killed in a Delta Force commando raid on his Syrian compound in June.

Justice for Kayla

"We fully support the Iraqi prosecution of Sayyaf and will continue to work with the authorities there to pursue our shared goal of holding Sayyaf accountable for her crimes," Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in a statement.

Irak - IS Führer Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

'IS' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly held Mueller in sexual slavery during her captivity

"At the same time, these charges reflect that the US justice system remains a powerful tool to bring to bear against those who harm our citizens abroad."

Mueller went to Turkey in December 2012 to work for a Turkish organization providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees along the Syrian border.

She was seized in August 2013 while leaving a hospital in Aleppo in northern Syria. Her

death was confirmed by US President Barack Obama

in February last year.

A Yazidi teenager who was held with Mueller and escaped in October 2014 said al-Baghdadi took Mueller as a "wife," repeatedly raping her when he visited.

Intelligence agencies corroborated the 14-year-old's account and

American officials passed it on to Mueller's parents in June 2015.

mm/bw (AP, Reuters)

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