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Germany charges man with genocide over Yazidi killing

October 11, 2019

An Iraqi man faces a charge of genocide in Germany, accused of chaining up a Yazidi girl and letting the 5-year-old die of thirst. He and his wife, a German national, are believed to be part of the "Islamic State" group.

Women standing in tent in new Trauma Center in Dohuk, Iraq
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Martins

Greek authorities extradited an Iraqi man to Germany where he now faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and human trafficking, German prosecutors said on Friday.

German officials identified the suspected "Islamic State" (IS) militant as Taha A.-J., in accordance with the country's privacy laws.

Prosecutors say the suspect joined the militia in 2013. A year later, German national Jennifer W. traveled to the region to join IS and subsequently married Taha. In 2015, with the jihadist group controlling swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, the couple bought a 5-year-old Yazidi girl and her mother at a slave market.

Death by dehydration

According to German authorities, the man forced the two Yazidis to convert to Islam and regularly perform prayers. He is also accused of beating both the mother and the child. At one point, the girl fell ill and soiled the bed. As punishment, the IS militant allegedly chained her outdoors, where she slowly died of thirst in the heat of 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).

The killing was part of the IS group's wider effort to exterminate Yazidis, German prosecutors said on Friday as they explained the charge of genocide.

The man was arrested in Greece in May and delivered to Germany this week.

One trial for husband, another for wife

The suspect's wife, 28-year-old German Jennifer W., is already in a separate trial in her native country. In addition to joining the IS ranks, prosecutors believe she was part of the group's "morality police," ensuring that other women at the occupied territories comply with rules of clothing and behavior set by the extremist militia.

Deutschland München | Prozess Jennifer W., IS-Rückkehrerin
The trial of Jennifer W. started in Munich in April 2019Image: Getty Images/S. Widmann

"For intimidation, the accused carried a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a pistol, and an explosives vest," prosecutors said in a statement last year.

The woman was arrested months after the Yazidi child's death after trying to get new identity papers at the German embassy in Ankara. She was initially allowed to return to Germany. However, German police arrested her in June 2018 while she was trying to make her way back to IS-controlled territory.

German prosecutors accuse her of doing nothing to save the girl who was killed by her husband. She is charged with killing by negligence. Jennifer W. is also the first German woman to be prosecuted for IS membership. If convicted, she could face a life sentence.

German 'IS' jihadists

dj/stb (dpa, AP, AFP)

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