German mum sentenced to more than nine years in prison after she kept Yazidi woman as a slave

A court in Germany will deliver its verdict later today in a landmark case against a 37-year-old woman accused of crimes against humanity and aiding and abetting genocide in one of the first cases of its kind against former members of Islamic State.

The defendant, known as “Nadine K” allegedly enslaved a 22-year-old Yazidi woman for five years, during the group’s activity in Syria and northern Iraq.

Sky News has exclusively spoken to the Yazidi witness, known in court proceedings as Naveen al K, whose testimony is at the heart of the trial. She spoke, often through tears, about the harrowing ordeal she endured in a face-to-face interview from northern Iraq.

The defendant is believed to have travelled to Syria in 2014 to join the Islamic State group, along with her Syrian husband. He worked as a doctor for IS whilst she looked after the household, two daughters and the women they captured.

In 2015 they moved to the city of Mosul in Iraq, which by then was under IS control.

Naveen al K, whose full name cannot be revealed until the verdict is delivered later, claims she was enslaved, suffered regular violence, abused and was forced to cook and clean for the couple.

She is being represented by the human rights barrister, Amal Clooney. The defendant denies the charges.

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The Yazidi genocide background

In 2014, Islamic State militants seized large parts of Iraq and Syria, killing 1,200 Yazidis and enslaving as many as 12,000 women and girls.

Much of the minority Yazidi population in Iraq, around 550,000, was forced to flee their homes, mainly around the Mount Sinjar area.

The women were taken to captivity in Iraq and Syria, tortured, raped and forced to work for Islamic State.

The UN team investigating the massacre concluded that there was “clear and convincing evidence that genocide was committed”, and a number of governments, including Germany have officially recognised it as such.

The Yazidis are an ancient group, mainly based in northwest Iraq but also small pockets in Syria and Turkey.

Their religious beliefs have roots in Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Manichean but unlike many religions Yezidism has no central holy book.

Islamic State, which perpetuated an extreme interpretation of Islam, believed they were devil worshippers and tried to force them to convert or killed them.

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The family moved between Iraq and Syria as the fighting continued and coalition forces started to recapture land and defeat the terror organisation.

The couple were eventually arrested by Kurdish forces in March 2019 and Nadine K went back to Germany in 2021.

The Yazidi captive was eventually released and made it to safety after she was discovered in a sprawling holding camp in the Syrian desert by a Scottish documentary filmmaker, Alan Duncan.

‘I cried…watching Naveen relive the horrors’

Speaking to Sky News Mr Duncan said: “I have been following Naveen on this journey for the last four years, from the moment we found her in the Al Hol camp and freed her from ISIS.

“I cried as I sat in the courtroom watching Naveen relive the horrors that she was put through.

“She had to recount intimate details to a foreign court, in front of people she didn’t know, in a language she couldn’t understand.

“She, like so many other survivors, never gave up hope. I hope this trial is a step towards closure.”

Naveen Al K, whose mother died whilst she was in captivity, spent several days giving evidence at the trial in Germany, standing face-to-face with her alleged former captor.

Earlier this year the German parliament recognised crimes committed against the Yazidi people as genocide.

The country is believed to have the world’s largest Yazidi diaspora and has actively pursued other cases of crimes committed against them.