Ex-IS member who chained up Yazidi girl, 5, and left her to die in scorching heat is jailed for life

The defendant, an Iraqi named Taha al J who was arrested in Greece and extradited to Germany two years ago, was sentenced to life in prison by a court in Frankfurt. His lawyers had denied the allegations against him.

Ex-IS member who chained up Yazidi girl, 5, and left her to die in scorching heat is jailed for life

Image: Taha al J hides his face as he talks to his lawyers in court. Pic: AP

A former member of the Islamic State group has been convicted of genocide and committing a war crime including the murder of a five-year-old Yazidi girl he bought as a slave and then chained to a window as he left her to die in scorching heat.

The defendant, an Iraqi man named only as Taha al J, who was arrested in Greece and extradited to Germany two years ago, was sentenced to life in prison by a court in Frankfurt.

It is believed to be first time a person has been found guilty of genocide over the persecution of the Yazidi religious minority by IS.

In the landmark ruling, he was convicted of involvement in the killing of more than 3,000 Yazidis and the enslavement of 7,000 women and girls by IS jihadists in 2014-15.

This, the court ruled, included the murder of a five-year-old girl the defendant had enslaved and chained to a window, leaving her to die in scorching heat in 2015 in Iraq.

Ex-IS member who chained up Yazidi girl, 5, and left her to die in scorching heat is jailed for life

Image: Taha al J was sentenced to life in jail by a court in Frankfurt. Pic: AP

Al J, who is aged 29, bought a Yazidi woman and her five-year-old daughter Reda as slaves at an IS base in Syria in 2015, according to German prosecutors.

The pair had been taken as prisoners by the militants from the northern Iraqi town of Kocho at the beginning of August 2014 and had already been “sold and resold several times as slaves” by the extremist group.

The defendant took the woman and her daughter to his Fallujah home in Iraq and forced them to “keep house and to live according to strict Islamic rules,” while giving them little food and beating them often to punish them, prosecutors said.

They alleged that towards the end of 2015, al J chained the girl to the bars of a window in the open sun where the temperature reached 50C (122F) and she lost her life.

The girl had allegedly been punished by the man because she had wet the bed.

The defendant’s lawyers denied the accusations against their client, who was ordered by the Frankfurt regional court to pay the girl’s mother €50,000 (£42,500).

Last month, his German wife, identified only as Jennifer W, was sentenced to 10 years in jail over the girl’s death.

The child’s mother, who survived captivity, testified at both trials and took part as a co-plaintiff.

Lawyer Amal Clooney, who was a counsel for the mother, said after Tuesday’s verdict: “This is the moment Yazidis have been waiting for.

“To finally hear a judge, after seven years, declare that what they suffered was genocide. To watch a man face justice for killing a Yazidi girl – because she was Yazidi.”

Ex-IS member who chained up Yazidi girl, 5, and left her to die in scorching heat is jailed for life

Image: An ambulance pictured in front of the Frankfurt regional court. Image: AP

The Yazidis are an ancient religious minority in eastern Syria and northwest Iraq that IS saw as supposed devil worshippers for their faith that combines Zoroastrian, Christian, Manichean, Jewish and Muslim beliefs.

The United Nations called the IS assault on the Yazidis’ ancestral homeland in northern Iraq in 2014 a genocide, saying their 400,000-strong community “had all been displaced, captured or killed”.

Of the thousands captured by IS, boys were forced to fight for the militants, men were executed if they did not convert to Islam – and even if they did they were often murdered – and women and girls were sold into slavery.

German authorities handled the case under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows the country to try very serious crimes even if they were committed elsewhere and there is no direct link to Germany.

Nobel peace prize laureate Nadia Murad, who has survived IS atrocities, said the verdict was “a win for survivors of genocide, survivors of sexual violence, and the entire Yazidi community”.

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