German court convicts ex-IS member in Yazidi girl's death

·2 min read

BERLIN (AP) — A former member of the Islamic State group was convicted by a German court on Tuesday of genocide and committing a war crime over the death of a 5-year-old girl he had purchased as a slave and then chained up in the hot sun to die.

The Frankfurt regional court sentenced Taha Al-J., an Iraqi citizen whose full last name wasn’t released because of privacy rules, to life imprisonment and ordered him to pay the girl's mother 50,000 euros ($57,000).

German news agency dpa quoted the presiding judge, Christoph Koller, saying it was the first conviction worldwide over a person's role in the systematic persecution by IS of the Yazidi religious minority.

The defendant’s lawyers had denied the allegations made against their client.

His German wife was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison over the same incident.

The United Nations has called the IS assault on the Yazidis’ ancestral homeland in northern Iraq in 2014 a genocide, saying the Yazidis’ 400,000-strong community “had all been displaced, captured or killed.” Of the thousands captured by IS, boys were forced to fight for the extremists, men were executed if they didn’t convert to Islam — and often executed in any case — and women and girls were sold into slavery.

According to German prosecutors, Al-J. bought a Yazidi woman and her 5-year-old daughter as slaves at an IS base in Syria in 2015. The two had been taken as prisoners by the militants in northern Iraq at the beginning of August 2014 and had been “sold and resold several times as slaves” by the group already.

The defendant took the woman and her daughter to his household in the Iraqi city of Fallujah and forced them to “keep house and to live according to strict Islamic rules,” while giving them insufficient food and beating them regularly to punish them, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors allege that toward the end of 2015, Al-J. chained the girl to the bars of a window in the open sun on a day where it reached 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) and she died from the punishment. The punishment was allegedly carried out because the 5-year-old had wet the bed.

The girl’s mother, who survived captivity, testified at both trials.

The Associated Press

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