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Germany: Woman sentenced for 'IS' membership, breach of care

July 17, 2023

The 33-year-old had been accused of going to Syria in 2016 along with her children and joining the terrorist group.

A glass door with German writing on it
The woman's husband was an 'IS' fighter and the pair raised their children in accordance with IS ideologyImage: Daniel Kubirski/picture alliance

A Frankfurt court on Monday handed a German woman a two-year suspended prison sentence due to her past involvement with the so-called "Islamic State" (IS). 

"She promoted the organization from within," the presiding judge said of the 33-year-old woman from the German state of central Hesse as he handed down the sentence.

German police arrest suspected 'Islamic State' supporters

Woman 'grossly violated' motherly duties

According to prosecutors, the woman traveled to Syria during the spring of 2016 — along with her two sons — to join the terror group. At the time IS had seized control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq, as it pushed ahead with its plan of establishing a caliphate.

The woman, named Laura H, was also accused of being in breach of her duty to care for her children.

"She grossly violated her duties as a mother," the judge said.

The woman's husband was an IS fighter and the pair raised their children in accordance with IS ideology. He was later killed in an air raid in front of their sons.

Laura H. and her children also experienced bombings on an almost daily basis and had to flee Syria. At times they hid in holes in the ground as they made their way through the desert.

Prosecutors said she was taken into custody by Kurdish forces at the end of 2018, and then taken to the al-Hol refugee camp, situated near the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The woman and her children were brought back to Germany in November 2019, during a repatriation campaign organized and coordinated by Germany's Federal Foreign Office. 

Aftermath of a genocide

Germany's IS prosecutions

The trial is the latest in a string of prosecutions in Germany involving women who traveled to IS-controlled regions in Syria and Iraq.

In June, a woman was sentenced for IS membership, crimes against humanity and aiding genocide.

The court ruled that the 37-year-old, Nadine K, had abused a Yazidi woman, forcing her to be a "household slave" while living with the group.

In 2021, a court sentenced a German convert to Islam on charges that she allowed a 5-year-old Yazidi girl — who she and her husband kept as a slave — to die of thirst in the sun. The husband was also subsequently convicted.

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kb/wd (AFP, dpa)