A German appeals court on Thursday remanded the case of a German convert to Islam who was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges that she and her husband kept a Yazidi girl, age 5, as a slave in Iraq and allowed her to die of thirst in the sun while they were in Daesh’s custody.
That means the 31-year-old defendant could get a harsher sentence.
The Federal Court of Justice rejected the woman’s appeal (she is only being referred to by her initials, Jennifer W., in accordance with German privacy laws) but partially upheld the prosecution’s appeal. It threw out the sentence but upheld the rest of the verdict, sending the case back to the state court in Munich for reconsideration.
The woman was found guilty on multiple charges in October 2021, including membership in an international terrorist organization, as well as two counts of crimes against humanity involving enslavement, one of which resulted in death.
The federal court ruled that the Munich judges made a mistake by giving the woman a lighter sentence for crimes against humanity because they failed to take into account mitigating factors. A defendant whose actions cause another person’s death may be given a life sentence under German law.
Prosecutors at her trial in Munich claimed she had watched indifferently as her ex-husband had the girl, a Yazidi, chained in a courtyard and left to die of thirst. She did nothing to assist the minor, despite it being “possible and reasonable” for her to do so, as determined by the court.
She was detained and sent back to Germany in 2016 when she went to the German embassy in Ankara to update her identification documents.
In November 2021, a Frankfurt court found her ex-husband, an Iraqi man named Taha Al-J., guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and infliction of great bodily harm leading to death. He received a life sentence for his crime.
The girl’s mother testified at both trials because she managed to escape captivity.