German woman charged over crimes against humanity in Syria

German federal prosecutors on Wednesday said they had charged a German woman with crimes against humanity allegedly committed while she was living in Syria as a member of the Daesh group. (File/AFP)
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Updated 11 November 2020

German woman charged over crimes against humanity in Syria

  • Prosecutors said the woman traveled to Syria with her daughter in 2015 to join the extremist organization and marry a Daesh fighter
  • Throughout 2016 and 2017 she received frequent visits from a friend who owned a Yazidi “slave” also forced to do housework at the suspect’s home

FRANKFURT: German federal prosecutors on Wednesday said they had charged a German woman with crimes against humanity allegedly committed while she was living in Syria as a member of the Daesh group.
The suspect, identified only as Nurten J. and the mother of several children, is accused of crimes related to the persecution of the Yazidi minority in territory controlled by Daesh.
Nurten J. is believed to be the first European woman charged with crimes against humanity over abuses committed in Syria as part of Daesh.
In a statement, prosecutors said the woman traveled to Syria with her then three-year-old daughter in 2015 to join the extremist organization and marry a Daesh fighter, also from Germany, with whom she had other children.
Throughout 2016 and 2017 she received frequent visits from a friend who owned a Yazidi “slave” also forced to do housework at the suspect’s home.
Nurten J. was “following the ideology of IS according to which the enslavement of the Yazidis was justified,” the prosecutors in Karlsruhe said.
The suspect also stands accused of war crimes against property for living in a home that had been seized by Daesh from its rightful occupants, and for endangering her daughter by taking her to a war zone.
In addition, she faces charges for violating weapons laws.
After Daesh lost its territories in Syria, the woman was held in Kurdish captivity before being transferred to custody in Turkey and then sent back to Germany.
Germany has charged several German and foreign nationals with war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out abroad, using the legal principle of universal jurisdiction which allows crimes to be prosecuted even if they were committed in a foreign country.
Few of the charges so far have involved women, however.
A German woman named as Jennifer W. went on trial in Munich last year accused of the war crime of letting a five-year-old Yazidi girl die of thirst in Iraq.
Both the child and her mother were held captive as household slaves by Jennifer W. and her terrorist husband, an Iraqi national. He is on trial in Germany for genocide and murder.
Last month, another German court sentenced the German-Tunisian wife of a rapper-turned-radical to three and a half years in prison for having taken part in the enslavement of a Yazidi girl in Syria.
Daesh committed atrocities against the Yazidis in 2014 that are being investigated by the UN to determine whether they can be qualified as genocide.


Scotland leader ‘never been more certain’ of independence

Updated 28 November 2020

Scotland leader ‘never been more certain’ of independence

  • The head of Scotland’s devolved government and the leader of the pro-independence SNP told supporters at the party’s virtual conference

GLASGOW: Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday said she had “never been more certain” of achieving independence, with Britain’s final departure from EU trading arrangements set to precede key Scottish elections in the months ahead.

The head of Scotland’s devolved government and the leader of the pro-independence SNP told supporters at the party’s virtual conference that the prospect of a break between Scotland and the rest of the UK has never been closer.

“Independence is in clear sight — and with unity of purpose, humility and hard work I have never been so certain that we will deliver it,” she said.

Sturgeon and the SNP have argued for a second referendum on Scottish independence since the party’s overwhelming victory among Scottish seats in Britain’s 2019 general election.

Now she hopes that a further resounding win in May elections to the Edinburgh parliament will hand her party a mandate for a second bid to quit the UK.

Opinion polls in recent months have shown that a majority of public opinion in Scotland now supports independence.

The country chose to remain part of the four-nation United Kingdom in a 2014 referendum on the issue.

But Scots later voted by a thumping majority in 2016 to remain in the European Union, a referendum the Leave side won by a narrow margin when taking the rest of Britain into account.

Since then, “we have won a landslide victory in a UK general election and support for independence has risen, it has become the sustained and majority view in public opinion this year,” said Sturgeon.

“Who should be taking the decisions that shape our futures? We know that it is the people who live here, wherever they come from, who can best harness Scotland’s immense human and natural resources.

“Let us reach out to all Scotland like never before,” she added.

Sturgeon urged her party to “demonstrate ... that Scotland is ready to take our place in the global family of independent nations,” saying it was “now a nation on the brink of making history.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly rebuffed calls from for a another referendum, saying that the 2014 vote settled the question for a generation.

Earlier this month, Scottish independence campaigners seized on comments by the prime minister in which he said the creation of a devolved parliament in Edinburgh had been “a disaster.”

In response Sturgeon said the only way to protect the parliament was “with independence.”

On Thursday, she said a referendum could be held “in the earlier part” of the next parliamentary session.

“The people of Scotland have the right to choose their future. Let’s now focus all our efforts on making sure we bring about that better country they and future generations deserve,” Sturgeon said on Saturday.