A German woman received a 10-year prison sentence Monday for allowing a young Yazidi girl, who was being kept as a slave in Iraq by the woman and her husband, to die of thirst in the hot sun.
German authorities said the 30-year-old convert to Islam, identified only as Jennifer W., was a member of Islamic State in Iraq.
The Higher Regional Court convicted the defendant on charges including membership in a terrorist organization abroad, aiding and abetting attempted murder, attempted war crimes and crimes against humanity.
According to German news agency dpa, federal prosecutors accused Jennifer W. of letting the 5-year-old Yazidi girl die after the woman’s husband, an Islamic State fighter, chained the girl in a courtyard unprotected from the heat. Prosecutors said the defendant’s husband was punishing the girl for wetting her mattress.
Islamic State views the minority Yazidis as heretics. In 2014, IS fighters killed scores of Yazidi men in Iraq during an onslaught on the Yazidi town of Sinjar. IS also enslaved thousands of women and girls in acts that amounted to genocide, according to the United Nations.
Judge Joachim Baier said the child was “defenseless and helplessly exposed to the situation,” adding that the defendant “had to reckon from the beginning that the child, who was tied up in the heat of the sun, was in danger of dying.”
German media reported that the defendant, who is from Lohne in Lower Saxony, was raised as a Protestant but converted to Islam in 2013. She traveled to Iraq through Turkey and Syria in 2014 to join Islamic State, according to The Associated Press.
According to prosecutors, Jennifer W. was a member of IS’s armed “morality police” in 2015 and patrolled public parks in Fallujah and Mosul for women who did not conform to the group’s strict dress and conduct codes, AP reported.
The defendant was taken into custody in 2016 while trying to renew her identity papers at the German Embassy in Ankara, after which she was deported to Germany.
Prior to her sentencing, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office demanded that she serve a life sentence, while the defense asked for a maximum of two years in prison.
Some information for this story comes from The Associated Press and Reuters.