Islamic State bride: Man convicted of murder over her murder

Image copyright AFP Image caption The child’s father and stepmother were convicted of her murder

A 22-year-old Iraqi man has been convicted of murder over the death of a five-year-old girl who was forced to marry her executioner.

In August, Abdul Raheem Khazim and his wife dressed the young girl in a burqa, tied her to the back of a pick-up truck and drove her to the frontline in Mosul, Iraq.

The young girl looked at her captors but turned away and began to cry, prosecutors said.

A car bomb exploded near them, and her distraught father grabbed his daughter.

“I heard the girl’s cries and realised they were for her child, who was killed before her eyes by men who were meant to be her friends,” the father told the court.

Abdul Raheem Khazim

On Thursday, he and his wife were found guilty of murdering the girl, along with Abdul Karim Khazim, 42, her father, and her stepmother, Maria Soliman, 30.

All four are members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State group.

The court in the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, sentenced Abdul Raheem Khazim to three years in prison and his wife to five.

Image copyright AFP Image caption He is believed to have carried out other attacks against coalition forces

The eight women all denied the charges but received prison sentences ranging from four to five years each.

The judges in Hilla said they had studied the statements of more than 40 witnesses who had identified the defendants.

They noted that Abdul Raheem Khazim had taken part in attacks against coalition forces and provided the coordinates of their positions in Mosul.

In August, the girl’s weeping father rejected an offer to marry his daughter to his 25-year-old son.

“My son is totally devoted to the caliphate,” he said. “For me, she’s the mufti’s daughter and that means I’m not free to choose who she’ll marry.”

‘Husband was told not to hurt her’

In a separate case, the court sentenced the wife of a woman who is facing trial for the killing of her 22-year-old husband to 15 years in prison for the murder.

Image copyright AFP Image caption At least 200 female members of Isis fighters have surrendered to security forces in Iraq in recent months

Ameer Fatima told the court her husband had revealed his plans to surrender to Iraqi forces about five days before he was killed.

She told of having to cut the man’s arm with a knife to carry out the death.

The family had fled Islamic State’s de facto capital of Mosul in June, and the wife later turned herself in.

She said her husband had told her they should move to Europe because they “did not want to live under the Sharia [Islamic law]”.

She had said the man had been “told not to hurt his wife or daughter”, but had believed she was in danger because the couple had gone to Mosul to ask for help from the public in helping the families of fighters who had surrendered.

With many women participating in the fight against Islamic State, social experts are concerned about women’s rights.

“There’s a new kind of woman that has emerged, one that seeks a role in battle. It’s hard to contain her instincts,” said Krista Burton, from Women2win, an organisation that supports victims of human trafficking and other gender-based abuse.

In October, after British-Iraqi Abu Ali al-Shishani was killed in a US air strike, US-led airstrikes targeted two girls aged 10 and 13 with one of their Chechen mothers.

They were militants from a Syrian-Algerian family who had travelled to Aleppo and joined al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

In response, British Prime Minister Theresa May said her country supported “all efforts to help vulnerable people, no matter what their gender”.

“At the same time, let us not forget that Daesh is driven by misogynistic, anti-women ideology that seeks to cast women as second-class citizens,” she said, using an alternative name for IS.

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