Little Reda was five years old when she died an unimaginably cruel death. Now an IS returnee from Lower Saxony has been convicted for the second time.
The girl’s death in a house in Iraq in the summer of 2015 must have been horrific. As punishment, the child died of thirst in the blazing sun after being chained in the courtyard. Jennifer W. from Lohne in Lower Saxony and her husband at the time had kept the young Jesidin and her mother as slaves. Now the 32-year-old IS returnee has been convicted in Munich for her act as an Islamist extremist. The Higher Regional Court (OLG) imposed a total sentence of 14 years on Tuesday after it had to decide again on the sentence after an appeal.
The presiding judge of the 9th criminal senate called the actions of the 32-year-old inhuman and referred to the serious psychological consequences that the mother has been struggling with to this day. The act was directed against the religious orientation of the two Yazidis. Jennifer W. became convinced that the right form of Islam is very conservative and joined the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS). In August 2014, the then 23-year-old traveled to Syria via Istanbul. In June 2015, she finally married an Iraqi who has already been convicted of, among other things, genocide.
The court now considered the behavior of the convicts after the death of little Reda, who had been named by the couple Rania, to be serious. When the mother cried, Jennifer W. held a pistol to the desperate woman’s head and threatened to shoot her if she didn’t stop crying, the judge said in her verdict. The mother was exceptionally traumatized.
Federal prosecutor Jochen Weingarten is satisfied with the verdict, even though he had pleaded for 14 years and six months. The enslavement was embedded in the genocide of the Yazidis. In Weingarten’s opinion, the enslavement of mother and daughter was a particularly inhumane form, and the child died horribly.
The five-year-old’s mother accompanied the process as a joint plaintiff. Her client is happy about the verdict, but she cannot bring her daughter back, said her lawyer Natalie von Wistinghausen after the announcement. Jennifer W.’s remorse is also noted. “We wish it wasn’t just lip service and tactics,” the attorney said.
Certainty about the death of the child
At least the mother now has clarity that her daughter is really dead, as Jennifer W. had finally expressly confirmed the child’s death in the second procedure. This certainty could help her to process the death of her child, said von Wistinghausen.
Jennifer W.’s ex-husband was also held accountable by the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court. The Iraqi had bought the two Yazidi women as slaves after they had been kidnapped as part of the systematic persecution by IS. He had wanted to punish the five-year-old by chaining him up in the yard because she had wet the bed. And that at temperatures of more than 50 degrees in the shade. By the time he untied the girl, she had suffered fatal heat stroke.
For von Wistinghausen, such investigations into crimes against Yazidis are not only important because of personal fates. They could not happen without the courageous testimonies of women like the girl’s mother, the attorney said. They do this for themselves, but also for their entire faith community. “They want the world to know what happened to the Yazidis and they want something like this not to happen again.”
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.