German woman convicted of keeping Yazidi woman as a slave in Iraq

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Berlin (AP) — A German woman was convicted Wednesday of keeping a Yazidi woman as a slave during her time with the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and sentenced to nine years and three months in prison.

The state court in the western city of Koblenz convicted the 37-year-old of crimes against humanity, membership in a foreign terrorist organization and being an accessory to genocide, German news agency dpa reported. Authorities have identified her only as Nadine K. in line with German privacy rules.

The court found that the defendant for three years abused a young Yazidi woman “in her own interests as a household slave.” It said that her husband brought the woman to their home and regularly raped her, and that the defendant enabled those assaults and should have intervened.

Prosecutors have said that the defendant traveled to Syria with her husband in 2014 and joined IS. In 2015, the couple moved to the Iraqi town of Mosul, where they allegedly kept the Yazidi woman.

The defendant was arrested in March 2022 after being brought back to Germany from a camp in northeastern Syria where suspected members of IS have been held.

In a statement read out at her trial by a defense lawyer, she denied having coerced the Yazidi woman at any point. She said there had been frequent arguments with her husband over the woman’s presence and she was ashamed of not having done more for her.

In February, the Yazidi woman testified at the trial and said she recognized the defendant.

She traveled to Koblenz again for the verdict. “She hopes that others follow her example” and that all who committed similar crimes face trial, said her lawyer, Sonka Mehner.

The trial is the latest of several in Germany involving women who traveled to regions controlled by the IS group in Syria and Iraq.

In one case, a German convert to Islam was convicted in 2021 on charges that she allowed a 5-year-old Yazidi girl she and her husband kept as a slave to die of thirst in the sun. Her husband was subsequently convicted as well.

Earlier this year, an appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing for the woman, who was given a 10-year sentence. She now risks a longer prison term.

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