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Former ISIS member gets life in prison for killing 5-year-old Yazidi girl

Former ISIS member gets life in prison for killing 5-year-old Yazidi girl
Taha Al-J., covering his face with a folder, is escorted inside the courtroom on Monday at the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo by Frank Rumpenhorst/EPA-EFE

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A German court on Tuesday convicted an Iraqi man on genocide and war crimes charges, over the death of a young girl he bought as a slave and ultimately killed by leaving her for hours in 120-degree heat.

The man, identified only as Taha Al-J., was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay $57,000 to the girl's mother, who he'd also bought as a slave in 2015. She survived and eventually testified against the man at trial.

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The girl and her mother were both from the persecuted Yazidi religious community in northern Iraq. The man was a member of the Islamic State terror group when he bought them, prosecutors said.

Tuesday's conviction and sentence is the second in the case of the 5-year-old Yazidi girl in as many months. His former wife was given 10 years in prison for contributing to the child's death. At trial, she described her husband as a violent person.

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The man's trial began in April 2020 but was delayed for months by the COVID-19 pandemic. He was arrested in Greece and extradited to Germany to be tried under the universal jurisdiction principle -- which allows the country to try particularly serious crimes although there's no direct link to Germany.

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At trial, prosecutors said the girl and her mother were regularly subjected to beatings and near starvation and forced to live by strict Islamic laws when they were enslaved at the man's house in Fallujah.

They were kidnapped in 2014 after the Islamic State raided the Sinjar region of Iraq.

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