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German woman charged with ‘enslaving’ Yazidi victim

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday said they had charged a German woman with war crimes and abetting genocide with the Islamic State group in Syria by “enslaving” a Yazidi woman.

The authorities brought the charges, which also included crimes against humanity and membership of a foreign terrorist organisation, against the suspect identified only as Nadine K. on September 16 before the superior regional court in Koblenz.

The federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement that Nadine K. had travelled with her husband in December 2014 from Germany to the IS-controlled part of Syria where they joined the militant group.

Months later the couple and their daughter settled in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the former “capital” proclaimed by IS, where they hoarded weapons and established a hostel providing room and board for “single female members” of IS.

“From early 2016, Nadine K. and her husband kept a Yazidi woman as a slave,” prosecutors said. “The man raped and beat the woman regularly, which Nadine K. knew.”

They said Nadine K. kept watch to prevent the woman from fleeing and forced her to do housework and care for children while observing Islamic rituals.

“All of this served the declared purpose of IS, to wipe out the Yazidi faith,” prosecutors said.

Nadine K. and her family are believed to have moved to Syria in autumn 2016 with their “slave” and lived in IS-controlled territory until March 2019 when the suspect was captured by Kurdish forces and the Yazidi woman “regained her freedom”.

The suspect was arrested last March upon her return to Germany in one of several repatriation operations.

A German court last November issued the first ruling worldwide to recognise crimes against the Yazidi community as genocide, in a verdict hailed by activists as a “historic” win for the minority.

The Kurdish-speaking Yazidis 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, a German woman who joined the Islamic State group in Syria as a teenager was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence but cleared by a court in Naumburg, central Germany, of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.