The Iraqi man, who is facing genocide charges, is accused of chaining a 5-year-old girl to a window, leaving her to die of thirst.
Taha Al-J., a 27-year-old Iraqi man, is on trial in Frankfurt for the murder of a 5-year-old Yazidi girl who he allegedly chained to a window outside in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) and left to die of thirst as punishment for wetting the bed.
“Taha Al-J. intended, according to the charges, to exterminate the religious minority of the Yazidis by his acquisition of the two Yazidi females, and to have personal benefits from their services in his household,” said the Frankfurt court as the trial opened on April 24—six years after IS initially invaded the ethno-religious minority’s homeland.
Al-J.’s trial is the first being carried out to legally address the genocide against Yazidis.
The indictment states that Al-J. was an active member of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq from 2013 to 2019.
After purchasing the girl and her mother, Nora, in 2015 at an IS base in Syria, he brought them to the Iraqi city of Fallujah, where he kept them as slaves and abused them.
The mother and daughter were reportedly first taken as prisoners by militants in northern Iraq in 2014, along with thousands of other women who were kidnapped and sold as slaves.
Al-J.’s wife, a 28-year-old German convert to Islam named Jennifer Wenisch, stands accused of joining IS as a member of the “morality police,” murder, and war crimes. At the time of her arrest in April 2019, Al-J. had yet to be captured by authorities. One month later, he was arrested in Greece and extradited to Germany in October.
Both Al-J. and Wenisch face life in prison if proven guilty.
Yazidis are one of Iraq’s many ethnic minority groups, following Yazidism, a monotheistic religion that has been accused of worshipping the devil by many Muslims—including IS.
IS devastated the Yazidi ancestral homeland in northern Iraq in 2014 amid what perpetrators called a “forced conversion campaign.” Militants killed thousands of men, while women and children were held captive, turned into child soldiers, or made sex slaves. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis fled to Mount Sinjar and have since been displaced.
Prosecutors believe Al-J.’s alleged crimes were motivated by an effort to exterminate the Yazidi ethnic minority group.