German ′Islamic State′ bride regrets joining terror group in Iraq | News | DW | 15.12.2017
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Germany

German 'Islamic State' bride regrets joining terror group in Iraq

In a televised interview, Linda W. has broken her silence on joining the "Islamic State" militant group. As she faces a possible death sentence in Iraq, Germany must answer the question: Is she a victim or a perpetrator?

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Masoud's list: From victim to terrorist hunter

A German teenager who traveled to Iraq and married an "Islamic State" (IS) militant told German television Thursday that she had ruined her life by joining the terror organization.

The case of Linda W. has sparked a discussion in Germany on whether she should be tried in her native country or in Iraq, where she could face a death sentence for joining the militant group.

Read more: What now for German 'Islamic State' brides when they return home?

Life 'ruined' by terror group

During the interview conducted by multiple German news outlets, Linda W. said:

  • "In Germany, everyone knows me, everyone knows how I look. I cannot go anywhere without being recognized, and I probably won't find a job anymore."
  • "I don't know how I came up with such a dumb idea. I've completely ruined my life."

  • "I was only in houses, so I've never really had anything to do with guns, nothing at all."

Hans-Georg Maaßen, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, said earlier this month: "Women who have lived in IS-held areas in recent years are often so radicalized and tied to IS' ideology that they can justifiably be called jihadists."

Suggesting that charges could be leveled against Linda W. and others like her, federal public prosecutor Peter Frank said: "We are of the opinion these women are guilty of membership in a foreign terrorist organization because they helped to strengthen the internal structure of the so-called 'Islamic State.'"

Read more: Will the 'Islamic State' survive?

Why this is important: Until now, German women who were not in combat but married to IS militants were rarely prosecuted. However, Linda W.'s case means that could all change.

How did she get to Iraq: At the age of 15, she forged her mother's signature to catch a flight from Dresden to Istanbul. She met up with a Chechen militant in the Turkish city, who she then married. They both crossed into Iraq, where her husband died in a battle shortly afterwards.

What happens next: If German prosecutors file charges against Linda W., they can make an extradition request to Iraqi authorities. However, without that, her fate lies in the hands of the Iraqi judicial system.

Read more: How the 'Islamic State' radicalizes teenagers using the internet

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