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Germany: Alleged IS terrorist goes on trial

March 6, 2020

The German convert is accused of taking her three children to Syria without the knowledge or consent of their father. The eldest son, trained as a child soldier aged 7, is thought to have died in a 2018 rocket attack.

A German passport with an IS flag in the background
Image: picture-alliance/Eibner-Pressefoto/Wuest

A court in the western city of Düsseldorf court was scheduled Friday to hear a set of charges filed by federal prosecutors against a 32-year-old mother, accused of joining the Islamic State ('IS') terrorist group.

The woman, originally from Oberhausen in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) of which Düsseldorf is the regional capital, is said to have traveled to Syria in 2015 with her three small children.

Read more: Germany takes back IS mother and three children from al-Hol camp

The six-item charge sheet includes alleged revocation of parential duties. It describes the accused handing over her son, Hamza, then aged 7, at a Islamic State (IS) military training camp as a war crime.

Prosecutors also allege she forced the three children to witness a public execution and to be indoctrinated by so-called religious police. Her joining a women's unit "Katiba Nusaiba" in Syria amounted to becoming an IS terrorist, prosecutors assert.

15 years if convicted

If convicted, the accused, named as only Carla-Josephine S. under German law restraints on reporting, faces up to 15 years in jail.

The trial in the Düsseldorf Regional Court is scheduled to proceed over 11 hearing days, spread through to April 24.

The mother is thought to be the first suspected IS affiliate returned from the Middle East under consular rules applied cautiously by Germany's Foreign Office.

Arriving at Stuttgart Airport in April 2019, she was immediately arrested, then at the request of NRW prosecutors. 

Because of the severity of the charges, the case was taken over by federal prosecutors.

Read more: How a German family ended up in Syria's Islamic State-controlled territory

Further child born in Syria

On arrival in Syria in 2015, the woman also married an IS fighter, since deceased, with whom she had a further child.

Some 50 German men and even more German women nationals are presumed to be at camps in Syria, including al-Hol in northern Syria, near its border with Iraq.

The number of children with German nationality there is thought to be around 170.

ipj/rt (dpa, AFP)

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