ISIS Man Who Chained a Five-year-old Yazidi Girl to Die Jailed For Life

Published November 30th, 2021 - 12:07 GMT
ISIS in Mosul
ISIS in Mosul (AFP File Photo)

An ISIS fanatic who chained up a five-year-old Yazidi girl in the sun and let her die of thirst as punishment for wetting the bed collapsed in a German court today after he was jailed for life for genocide.

Taha Al-Jumailly, who covered his face with a folder at the Frankfurt court, passed out after being found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity resulting in death, war crimes, aiding and abetting war crimes and bodily harm resulting in death.

The 29-year-old Iraqi, who joined ISIS in 2013, and his now ex-wife, a German woman named Jennifer Wenisch, 'purchased' a Yazidi woman and child as household 'slaves' while living in then ISIS-occupied Mosul in 2015.

They later moved to Fallujah, where Al-Jumailly is accused of chaining the five-year-old girl to a window outdoors in heat rising to 50C (122F) as a punishment for wetting her mattress, leading her to die of thirst.

Al-Jumailly's life sentence for genocide against the Yazidi minority is the first verdict worldwide to use the label. 

The Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking group hailing from northern Iraq, have for years been persecuted by IS militants who have killed hundreds of men, raped women and forcibly recruited children as fighters.

In May, UN special investigators reported that they had collected 'clear and convincing evidence' of genocide by IS against the Yazidis.

'This is a historical moment for the Yazidi community,' Natia Navrouzov, a lawyer and member of the NGO Yazda, which gathers evidence of crimes committed by IS against the Yazidis, told AFP ahead of the verdict.

'It is the first time in Yazidi history that a perpetrator stands in a court of law for genocide charges,' she said. 

The trial of Al-Jumailly 'sends a clear message', according to Navrouzov.

'It doesn't matter where the crimes were committed and it doesn't matter where the perpetrators are, thanks to the universal jurisdiction, they can't hide and will still be put on trial.'

It comes after Taha's ex-wife was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Munich court last month in a separate trial over the war crime of letting a five-year-old Yazidi 'slave' girl die of thirst in the sun. 

Jennifer Wenisch, 30, from Lohne in Lower Saxony, was found guilty of 'two crimes against humanity in the form of enslavement', as well as aiding and abetting the girl's killing and being a member of a terrorist organisation.

Wenisch converted to Islam in 2013 and made her way to Iraq to join the Islamic State, where she and her husband 'purchased' a Yazidi woman and child as household slaves according to the court.

'After the girl fell ill and wet her mattress, the husband of the accused chained her up outside as punishment and let the child die an agonising death of thirst in the scorching heat,' prosecutors said during the trial.

'The accused allowed her husband to do so and did nothing to save the girl.' 

Her sentence, handed out by the Higher Regional Court in Munich, was the culmination of what is thought to be one of the first convictions anywhere in the world related to the Islamic State group's persecution of the Yazidi community. 

Presiding judge Reinhold Baier handed down the verdict to Wenisch, after declaring the child was 'defenceless and helplessly exposed to the situation,' and that Wenisch 'had to reckon from the beginning that the child, who was tied up in the heat of the sun, was in danger of dying'. 

When asked during the trial about her failure to save the girl, Wenisch said she was 'afraid' that her husband would 'push her or lock her up'. 

Identified only by her first name Nora, the Yazidi girl's mother has repeatedly testified in both Munich and Frankfurt about the torment allegedly visited on her child.

The defence had claimed the mother's testimony is untrustworthy and said there was no proof that the girl, who was taken to hospital after the incident, actually died.

Wenisch's lawyers had called for her to receive just a two-year suspended sentence for supporting a terrorist organisation.

Wenisch herself claimed she was being 'made an example of for everything that has happened under ISIS' at the close of the trial, according to the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and appeared to show remorse for the crimes for which she was found guilty. 

Wenisch converted to Islam in 2013 and is thought to have left Germany to join ISIS the following year, travelling through Turkey and Syria to reach her eventual destination of Mosul in Iraq. 

Recruited in mid-2015 to the group's self-styled hisbah morality police, she patrolled city parks in IS-occupied Fallujah and Mosul.

Armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, a pistol and an explosives vest, her task was to ensure strict IS rules on dress code, public behaviour and bans on alcohol and tobacco.

In January 2016, she visited the German embassy in Ankara to apply for new identity papers. When she left the mission, she was arrested and extradited days later to Germany.

Wenisch's trial, which began in April 2019, is one of the first examples of court proceedings over the Islamic State group's brutal treatment of Yazidis. 

A Kurdish-speaking group hailing from northern Iraq, the Yazidis were specifically targeted and oppressed by the jihadists beginning in 2015.

Prominent London-based human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who has been involved in a campaign for IS crimes against the Yazidi to be recognised as a 'genocide', was part of the team representing the Yazidi girl's mother.

Germany has charged several German and foreign nationals with war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out abroad, using the legal principle of universal jurisdiction which allows crimes to be prosecuted even if they were committed in a foreign country.

A handful of female suspects are among those who have appeared in the dock.

In November 2020, a German woman named as Nurten J. was charged with crimes against humanity allegedly committed while she was living in Syria as a member of Islamic State.

In October 2020, another German court sentenced the German-Tunisian wife of a rapper-turned-jihadist to three-and-a-half years in prison for having taken part in the enslavement of a Yazidi girl in Syria.

This article has been adapted from its original source.
 

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