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Germany indicts Iraqi man over death of Yazidi slave girl

February 21, 2020

The man has been accused of letting the 5-year-old die of thirst after keeping her as a slave in Iraq. The suspect and his wife, German national Jennifer W., allegedly left the girl chained up before she perished.

 Frankfurt Higher Regional Court
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Hanschke

German prosecutors said on Friday they had indicted an Iraqi man for allegedly leaving a Yazidi girl to die of thirst.

He and his wife kept the 5-year-old as a slave in Iraq and his spouse, a German convert to Islam, is already on trial over the case.

The Iraqi male, who goes under the name of Taha A.-J. due to German privacy laws, faces charges of murder, membership of a terrorist organization, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and human trafficking.

Members of the Islamic State

Prosecutors allege that A.-J., who joined the Islamic State (IS) in 2013, bought the Yazidi girl and her mother as "slaves" and held them captive while living with Jennifer W. in then IS-occupied Mosul, Iraq, in 2015.

Their conduct was aimed at "destroying the Yazidis, their religion and their culture in keeping with the aims of IS," a statement from the prosecution said.

The married couple are alleged to have forced the mother and daughter to convert to Islam, deprived them of food and water and physically abused the pair. Taha A.-J. finally chained the five-year-old girl to a window outside in searing heat of up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), leading the child to die of thirst.

"The accused thought it possible that the girl would die and recklessly took that into account," prosecutors added.

Jennifer W. subsequently went on trial in her homeland, in Munich, in April 2019, with a charge sheet that included murder, a war crime and membership of a terrorist group.

Jennifer W.,
Jennifer W. stands in between her lawyers Ali Aydin and Seda Basay-Yildiz at the first day of her trial in Munich, in April 2019Image: Getty Images/S. Widmann

Taha A.-J. was arrested in May 2019 in Greece and extradited to Germany a few months later. The indictment was filed February 14 at the state court in Frankfurt. As yet, no date has been set for the trial.

jsi/aw (dpa, AFP, AP)

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