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Germany: Suspected 'IS' wife charged with war crimes

Wesley Dockery
February 9, 2022

The German national is believed to have married several members of the "Islamic State" terrorist organization. One of her alleged husbands had kept a Yazidi woman as a slave.

A fully veiled woman walks in Syria's Kurdish-run al Hol camp, where many relatives of suspected "IS" fighters live
Jalda A. had lived in a Kurdish-run camp prior to her return to GermanyImage: DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images

German authorities have pressed war crimes charges against a suspected member of the so-called "Islamic State" (IS), the federal prosecutor general in Karlsruhe announced Wednesday.

What do we know so far?

The German national, Jalda A., is believed to have married several members of IS, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office. She was detained in October upon her arrival in Frankfurt airport, as a warrant had been issued for her arrest by Hamburg's higher regional court. 

She first traveled to Syria via Turkey in 2014, with the intention of joining the terrorist group. She then married an IS member shortly afterward and lived in the Syrian cities of Tal Abyad and Raqqa, according to prosecutors.

During this time, she allegedly supported her husband's activities in the extremist group. Prosecutors say she watched as IS engaged in public punishments and brutality, and even raised her son in the IS ideology.

In April 2015, her first husband died in combat. Therefore, she became a "second wife" of another IS fighter.

From September to October, she had married for a third time and settled down in city of Mayadin, which lies in eastern Syria.

Suspect engaged in abuse of enslaved Yazidi woman

Her third IS husband is suspected of having kept a Yazidi woman as a slave. IS views the Yazidi religion as inferior, with the group having committed a mass genocide of Yazidi people in Iraq in the mid-2010s.

Jalda A. is believed to have willingly participated in the abuse of the Yazidi woman, who was often raped by her IS husband. 

"She herself abused the woman almost daily and especially following the rapes," the statement from the prosecutor general said. "For example, she regularly punched and kicked the woman, yanked her hair or hit her head against the wall."

Aftermath of a genocide

Jalda A. attempted to leave Syria at the end of 2017, but was arrested. She then spent time in a Kurdish-run camp until she returned to Germany.

Germany frequently prosecutes those who commit serious crimes abroad under the legal principle of universal jurisdiction. In October of last year, a German court sentenced an IS bride to 10 years in prison for having let a Yazidi slave girl die from dehydration.

German news agency dpa contributed to this report

Edited by: Farah Bahgat