German woman loses appeal of 14-year sentence for death of Yazidi girl in Iraq

A German federal court said Wednesday it had rejected a woman’s appeal of her 14-year sentence for allowing a five-year-old Yazidi girl she and her husband enslaved when they were members of ISIS in Iraq to die of thirst in the sun.

The defendant, a German convert to Islam, was convicted in October 2021 of, among other things, two counts of crimes against humanity through enslavement — one case resulting in death — and membership in a terrorist organization abroad.

She was initially given a 10-year sentence, which was overturned by the Federal Court of Justice on the grounds that judges had erred in sentencing the defendant for a “less severe case” of crimes against humanity and overlooked aggravating circumstances.

A new sentencing hearing for the woman, identified only as Jennifer W. in line with German privacy rules, ended in August with the 14-year sentence.

The court said Wednesday it rejected her appeal as “manifestly unfounded.” The statement on the ruling didn’t specify on what grounds she appealed.

The girl died in Fallujah, Iraq, in August 2015. At the original trial, the court found that the defendant did nothing to help the girl — who had been chained by her husband in their courtyard — although doing so would have been “possible and reasonable.”

The couple also enslaved the girl’s mother.

Jennifer W., now 32, was taken into custody while trying to renew her identity papers at the German Embassy in Ankara in 2016 and deported to Germany.

Her former husband, an Iraqi citizen identified only as Taha Al-J., was convicted by a Frankfurt court in November 2021 of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and bodily harm resulting in death. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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