German Court Convicts ISIS Returnee Who Took Daughter to Syria

German Court Convicts ISIS Returnee Who Took Daughter to Syria
Policemen secure the entrance to the court building where the trial against Gambian defendant Bai L., accused of of crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder, is taking place in Celle, northern Germany, on April 25, 2022. (Ronny Hartmann/AFP via Getty Images)
The Associated Press

BERLIN—A German woman who took her young daughter to Syria, joined the ISIS group there, and allegedly took advantage of an enslaved Yazidi woman was convicted Wednesday of membership in a terrorist organization and other offenses.

The state court in Celle said the 34-year-old, who has been identified only as Romiena S. in line with German privacy rules, was sentenced to three years and three months in prison. She was also convicted of being an accessory to a crime against humanity, abducting a minor, and breaching her duties of welfare and education.

Judges said that she traveled to Syria in 2014, taking her 4-year-old daughter against the wishes of the child’s father. She then successively married a number of ISIS members, enabling them to fight by running their households.

The defendant brought up her daughter and two Syria-born sons in line with ISIS ideology, taking the girl to the stoning of a woman when she was 6 and showing her execution videos, the court said. At one point, it added, she exploited an enslaved Yazidi woman at the home of a slave trader for a few days and guarded her as she went into town.

The defendant also posted messages on Twitter supporting extremist attacks in Nice, France, and Wuerzburg, Germany, in 2016.

She was arrested at Frankfurt airport when she arrived in October among a group of women and children repatriated from a camp in northeastern Syria where suspected ISIS members were held.

The court said the defendant largely admitted to the allegations against her and has now “distanced herself credibly” from ISIS. It said in a statement that judges also took into account the fact she wasn’t a “hard-liner” and that joining ISIS was in part “an escape from her previous life situation.” It didn’t elaborate.