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German mother who joined ISIS is jailed for enslaving and abusing young Yazidi woman

<i>Thomas Frey/picture alliance/Getty Images</i><br/>The defendant pictured standing between her lawyers at the start of her trial in January.
Thomas Frey/picture alliance/Getty Images
The defendant pictured standing between her lawyers at the start of her trial in January.

By Catherine Nicholls, CNN

(CNN) — A German court has convicted a former ISIS member of war crimes for enslaving and abusing a young Yazidi woman, the victim’s counsel said Wednesday.

The convicted German national, a 37-year-old woman referred to by the Higher Regional Court of Koblenz as Nadine K., was found guilty of “aiding and abetting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,” according to a statement. She was sentenced to nine years and three months for her involvement in the abuse of the victim.

According to the victim’s counsel, the victim, referred to as N, was “gifted” to Nadine K.’s husband in 2016, and she was “raped and subjected to forced labor” for three years. Both Nadine K. and her husband were members of ISIS. The abuse took place across different locations in Syria and in Iraq.

The victim’s counsel said that, although Nadine K. knew that N was being “regularly beat and raped,” she did nothing to intervene, hoping to “further ISIS’ ideology” through her treatment of N.

N was also forced to adhere to Islamic practices despite being of the Yazidi faith, her counsel said.

Travelling from Iraq to Germany to testify against Nadine K., N recounted her abuse in court for six days.

In the press statement released by her counsel, N said of the judgment: “The justice that I hope to achieve through this trial not only concerns me personally but also our Yazidi community… I allow myself to speak on behalf of all survivors, stating that as individuals and as a Yazidi community, we can only process what happened to us if we experience justice.”

Sonka Mehner, who represented N in court, said that “the tragic accounts of our client got under the skin of everyone present.”

“I am sure that with her testimony before a German court, she has achieved her goal of bringing the cruel fate of the Yazidi religious community to the attention of the world, in addition to her own, in order to prevent repetition,” she added.

Amal Clooney, another member of N’s counsel, hailed the fact that this is the third conviction of an ISIS member for genocide.

“We have reached these milestones because of the bravery of survivors, like my client, who were raped and enslaved by ISIS but were determined to face their abusers in the dock,” said Clooney. “In this trial, my client stared down the ISIS member who enslaved her for three years. And today, she won.”

Another member of N’s legal team, Natalie von Wistinghausen, said that she had found N’s “courage” to be “truly humbling.”

“She sent a strong message by wearing a Yazidi traditional dress when she attended the hearing today: ISIS hasn’t and never will succeed in destroying the Yazidi culture and identity,” said von Wistinghausen.

In August 2014, ISIS captured thousands of Yazidis when the terror group launched an assault on Sinjar, then home to more than half a million members of this minority group. ISIS fighters split up families, executed the men and declared the women their slaves.

In the years since, there have been international efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Another German woman who joined ISIS was sentenced in October 2021 to 10 years in prison over the death of a five-year-old Yazidi girl.

The Higher Regional Court in Munich found the woman, identified only as Jennifer W., guilty of crimes against humanity for “enslavement resulting in the death of another” as well as being a member of a foreign terrorist group, the court’s spokesperson Florian Gliwitzky told CNN.

Jennifer W. was living in Iraq with her ISIS fighter husband in 2015 when he purchased a Yazidi woman and her five-year-old daughter as slaves.

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