Iraqi couple suspected of genocide for enslaving Yazidi girls arrested in Germany

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German police have arrested an Iraqi couple alleged to be ISIS 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.

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Prosecutors said the girls were physically abused, repeatedly raped and banned from practicing their religion.

The couple handed the girls to other ISIS members before leaving Syria in November 2017, said prosecutors in a statement.

“All of this served the organization’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 ISIS member to life in prison for being involved in genocide and crimes against humanity against Yazidis. Two years later, German lawmakers recognized crimes committed by ISIS militants against Yazidis in Iraq in 2014 as genocide.

The extremist 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 ISIS targeted for their faith that combines elements of Zoroastrian, Christian, Manichean, Jewish and Muslim beliefs.

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