German IS bride sentenced to 10 years over Yazidi girl murder
MUNICH, Germany, Oct 25, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - A Munich court on Monday
sentenced a German woman who joined the Islamic State group to 10 years in
prison over the war crime of letting a five-year-old Yazidi "slave" girl die
of thirst in the sun.
Presiding judge Reinhold Baier of the superior regional court in the
southern German city handed down the verdict to Jennifer Wenisch, 30, in one
of the first convictions anywhere in the world related to the IS jihadists'
persecution of the Yazidi community.
Wenisch was found guilty of "two crimes against humanity in the form of
enslavement", aiding and abetting the girl's killing by failing to offer help
as well as membership of a terrorist organisation.
She and her IS husband "purchased" a Yazidi woman and child as household
"slaves", whom they held captive while living in then IS-occupied Mosul,
Iraq, in 2015, the court found.
"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 told the trial.
"The accused allowed her husband to do so and did nothing to save the
The trial lasted two and a half years due to delays linked to the pandemic
and other factors.
Wenisch's husband, Taha al-Jumailly, is also facing trial in separate
proceedings in Frankfurt, where a verdict is due in late November.
- Morality police -
Federal prosecutors had called for a life sentence for Wenisch for her role
in the Yazidi girl's suffering and death.
Identified only by her first name Nora, the child's mother has repeatedly
testified in both Munich and Frankfurt about the torment visited on her
The defence had claimed the mother's testimony was 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 a two-year suspended
sentence for supporting a terrorist organisation.
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".
At the close of the trial, according to the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, she
claimed she was being "made an example of for everything that has happened
According to other media reports, Wenisch converted to Islam in 2013 and
travelled the following year via Turkey and Syria to Iraq where she joined
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.
London-based human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who has been involved in a
campaign for IS crimes against the group 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.