The gruesome murder of the five-year-old Reda shocked even experienced investigators. Now charges have been brought in Frankfurt against the presumed murderer of the young girl.

by Caspar Schliephack

On 14 February 2020, the Office of the Attorney General of Germany brought charges against the alleged murderer of the five-year-old Reda before the State Protection Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main. The accused Iraqi national Taha a.-J. (also referred to as “Abu Muʿāwiya”) is the husband of Jennifer W., against whom charges had already been brought in Munich on December 14, 2018. Taha a.-J. has been in remand in Germany since 10 October 2019, after he was arrested in Greece in May 2019 and transferred to the Federal Republic of Germany and arrested on 9 October 2019.

The accused is accused of having “bought” Nora T. and her five-year-old daughter Reda from a group of Yazidi prisoners of the IS in the summer of 2015. According to the indictment, the purchase and subsequent enslavement by the accused – in addition to seeking comfort in his household – was carried out with the intention of destroying the Yazidis, their religion and culture in accordance with the aims of the I.S.

The accusations against Taha a.-J. also include the fact that he spent mother and daughter in the household he shared with the separately persecuted Jennifer W. in the central Iraqi city of Fallujah, where they were henceforth “kept” as slaves by both of them and were only insufficiently supplied with food and water. The accused forbade them to practice their own religion and forced them to convert to Islam, to put on a full veil when leaving the house, to read the Koran and to pray regularly. “Both were beaten several times by Taha A.-J., including violently, in order to punish and humiliate them. During a punishment action the accused sent the Yazidi woman barefoot into the courtyard of the estate in scorching heat. This caused her great pain and she was not allowed to enter the house again for half an hour. Afterwards Taha a.-J. tied the girl to a window outside. There she was exposed to temperatures of up to 50°C without protection and died an agonizing death. The accused had thought that this death of the girl was possible and had accepted it with approval,” the indictment reads.

All in all, Taha a.-J. is suspected of having cruelly killed a human being as a member of the foreign terrorist organization “Islamic State (IS)” for low motives. He is also charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes against persons, and trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation.

Convinced follower – cold-blooded helper

Jennifer W., whose trial at the State Protection Senate is being heard by the Munich Higher Regional Court, traveled from Germany via Turkey to the IS’s territory in Syria and Iraq in August 2014. There, according to her charges, she was a member of the “Hisba” (a kind of vice police of the IS) and patrolled the parks of the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Mosul in the evenings with assault rifle, pistol and explosive vest, for which she received between 70 and 100 US dollars in monthly pay. In Iraq she married the IS fighter Taha a.-J. ( Abu Muʿāwiya ), the now accused alleged murderer of little Reda. At the end of January 2016, the accused visited the German Embassy in Ankara, where she applied for new identity papers. On leaving the embassy building, she was arrested by members of Turkish security authorities and a few days later deported to the Federal Republic of Germany. The indictment states: “Since then, the accused has set herself the goal of returning to the IS’s territory.”

Arriving in Germany, the convert from Lohe in Lower Saxony gave birth to a child and planned her return to the IS domain. In cooperation with the American FBI, German security authorities succeeded in mid-2018 to convict the young woman as an IS member and record how Jennifer W. mentioned the murder of the five-year-old Reda in Fallujah to an informant. Her statement about the murdered five-year-old Yezidin Reda shows how deeply ingrained the inhuman IS-ideology and the hatred of others and, from her point of view, unbelievers is: According to Spiegel, Jennifer W. described her to the FBI informant as “our little slave girl”.

The girl from Lower Saxony was arrested on June 29, 2018, on her way to the IS Dominion in Syria and has been in custody since then. As a member of the foreign terrorist organization “Islamic State (IS)”, she is suspected of having cruelly killed a person for low motives and thereby committed a war crime. In addition, the now 28-year-old is accused of violating the War Weapons Control Act.

The process was originally scheduled to end on 30 September. However, the court has since rescheduled the trial several times with additional trial days. The last day of the trial is currently scheduled for May 15. With reference to the duration of the trial, Jennifer W.’s defense lawyers filed a motion for release and revocation of the arrest warrant. However, this was rejected by the Munich Higher Regional Court and subsequently found to be unfounded by the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, as there was still strong suspicion that Jennifer W. had committed a crime.

Due to the cruelty of the crime, the negotiations are accompanied by several German and international media. Central to the prosecution were, among other things, the statements of Nora T., the traumatized mother of little Reda. She had survived imprisonment and the cruel mistreatment and was advised and questioned in Iraq by the aid organisation Yazda. She is now in Germany. She was accepted into the witness protection program of the Federal Criminal Police Office and reports to German authorities about the crimes of IS.

In identifying the perpetrators and in the legal processing of the crimes, many Yazidi put great hopes in the German criminal investigation authorities and the German constitutional state. The confidence of the Yezidi community in the Iraqi justice system was recently shaken when a young Yezidi and survivor of the genocide was sentenced to death by an Iraqi court for murder despite lacking evidence.

Drawing: Zhiyar Alkaidy