ISIS couple from Iraq arrested in Germany for enslaving Yazidi girls from Shengal

Two Iraqi nationals have been arrested in Germany for involvement in the genocidal campaign against the Yazidi community in Shengal. The suspects are accused of committing inconceivable atrocities against Yazidi children.

On Tuesday, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office had the Iraqi nationals Twana H. S. and Asia R. A. arrested by officers of the Federal Criminal Police Office on the basis of arrest warrants issued by the investigating judge of the Federal Court of Justice on 19 March 2024. According to the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, the accused are suspected of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against persons under the International Criminal Code (ICC). In this context, they are also accused of membership of the foreign terrorist organisation "Islamic State" (ISIS) in accordance with sections 129a/b of the German Criminal Code. Both are in custody pending trial.

According to the statement from the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, the accused are charged with the following offences in the arrest warrants:

"Twana H. S. and Asia R. A. were married under Islamic law and were members of the foreign terrorist organisation 'Islamic State' (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria between October 2015 and December 2017. Since the end of 2015 at the latest, they kept a then five-year-old Yazidi girl and, from October 2017, another then twelve-year-old Yazidi girl as slaves. Twana H. S. raped both children several times. Asia R. A. prepared the room and put make-up on one of the girls. In addition, the accused exploited the female slaves economically by constantly using them for housework and childcare. The girls were forbidden to practise their own religion; instead, they had to follow Islamic prayers and rules of faith according to the defendants' instructions. The accused responded to the children's alleged misdemeanours with harsh physical violence. On one occasion, Twana H. S. hit the older girl with a broomstick. Asia R. A. scalded the younger girl's hand with hot water and repeatedly forced both children to stand on one leg for half an hour each as punishment. Before leaving Syria in November 2017, the accused passed the girls on to other ISIS members. All of this served ISIS' declared goal of destroying the Yazidi faith."

ISIS genocide in Shengal

The Yazidi settlement area Shengal (Sinjar) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is the last contiguous settlement area of the Yazidi community. Thousands of Yazidis were murdered and thousands of women and children were taken prisoner in the 3 August 2014 onslaught on Shengal by ISIS militants. While ISIS gangs began murdering Yazidis in Shengal, the Peshmerga left, leaving the Yazidis behind, unprotected. The guerrillas of HPG (People’s Defense Forces) and YJA Star (Free Women’s Troops) and fighters of the YPG (People’s Defense Units) and YPJ (Women’s Defense Units) came to the Yazidi people's aid in the face of ISIS aggression. Thanks to a months-long selfless struggle, the city was liberated on 13 November 2015. After the liberation of the city, the HPG and YPG/YPJ subsequently withdrew in 2017. People who returned to their land after Shengal's independence reformed, established defensive units and built their institutions.