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Couple Arrested for Genocide of Yazidi Girls

Yazidi survivors of ISIS captivity hold a candle-lighting ceremony for the Yazidi New Year. Photograph by Andrea DiCenzo

BERLIN, April 10 (Reuters) - German police have arrested an Iraqi couple alleged to be Islamic State members, on suspicion of genocide and crimes against humanity for enslaving two Yazidi girls, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Twana H. S. and Asia R. A., whose surnames were not released under German privacy law, were arrested on Tuesday for their treatment of the girls between 2015 and 2017 in Iraq and Syria.

Prosecutors said the girls were physically abused, repeatedly raped and banned from practicing their religion. The couple handed the girls to other IS members before leaving Syria in November 2017, said prosecutors in a statement.

"All of this served the organisation's objective to destroy the Yazidi religion," they added.

German prosecutors have used universal jurisdiction laws that allow them to prosecute crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world to bring such cases to trial.

In a landmark ruling in 2021, a German court sentenced a former IS member to life in prison for being involved in genocide and crimes against humanity against Yazidis. Two years later, German lawmakers recognised crimes committed by IS militants against Yazidis in Iraq in 2014 as genocide.

The jihadist group killed thousands of Yazidis, enslaved 7,000 Yazidi women and girls and displaced most of the 550,000-strong community from their ancestral home in northern Iraq.

The Yazidis are an ancient religious minority in eastern Syria and northwest Iraq that Islamic State targeted for their faith that combines elements of Zoroastrian, Christian, Manichean, Jewish and Muslim beliefs.

© 2024 Reuters. All rights reserved


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