The grieving family of Arizona aid worker Kayla Mueller — kidnapped by ISIS, then tortured and raped by their leader before dying last year — are getting some justice for the young woman’s death.
The widow of senior ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf has been arrested and is now in Iraqi custody facing conspiracy charges for her involvement in Mueller’s death in 2015, 17 months after she was kidnapped in Syria at gunpoint, NBC News reported.
“We will continue to pursue justice for Kayla and for all American victims of terrorism,” said John Carlin, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar, known as Umm Sayyaf, 25, was captured in a firefight with U.S. forces that killed her husband in May 2015. She has since been telling stories about Mueller’s captivity and spoke with the FBI last year.
— CNN (@CNN) February 9, 2016
DOJ: Kayla Mueller Was Sexually Abused By ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 8, 2016
Umm Sayyaf was allegedly the sole person responsible for Kayla and other captives who were held at her home. She threatened them and was aware that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sexually abused Mueller, according to the Justice Department.
According to court documents, Umm Sayyaf’s testimony has led the federal government to confirm for the first time that Kayla was indeed systematically raped. Last year, her family told the world of the torture their daughter suffered at the hands of ISIS.
After Mueller was kidnapped, she was held in a prison and then brought to the Sayyaf house, where two other women were being held, United Press International reported. While there, the Iraqi woman was left in charge when Abu left, and then “threatened the women, telling them she would kill them if they did not listen to her.” She chastised Kayla and the others, calling them “kafir” and “infidels” and forced them to watch violent propaganda videos.
“The captives were at various times handcuffed, held in locked rooms, and given orders on a daily basis with respect to their activities, movements and liberty,” according to court documents, ABC News reported. “While in captivity, Kayla Jean Mueller was sexually abused by [al-]Baghdadi, who forced her to have sex with him.”
By the fall of 2014, Mueller was chosen by al-Baghdadi to be his personal hostage and Umm Sayyaf has corroborated that disturbing fact, admitting that she knew Kayla was sexually abused, prosecutors said. According to her, al-Baghdadi kept Mueller as a slave while captive at the Sayyaf home.
In court documents, the Iraqi woman admitted she and her husband “held young women who were sold or traded” to other ISIS members. The women at the Sayyaf house were no exception — according to court documents, they were “sold and traded like slaves” as well.
It’s not clear if U.S. officials will take her into custody; she’s been held by the Kurds since her husband was killed.
— BBC News US (@BBCNewsUS) February 9, 2016
Kayla Mueller, 26, and another person were captured on a road heading into Aleppo on Aug. 3, 2013, on her second full day in the country. At the time, she was traveling with the humanitarian medical group, Medicines San Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders), whom she was asked to assist at a hospital. A contractor tried to rescue Kayla by telling ISIS she was his wife, but she’d already admitted the truth for fear of the consequences.
Afterward, the family had been told that Mueller was “tortured, that she was the property of al-Baghdadi,” her mother, Marsha has said. Then on Feb. 7, 2015, Kayla’s death was confirmed by ISIS in an email.
The U.S. Army’s Delta Force unit tried to rescue her in July 2014, but Kayla and other hostages had been moved days before. Starting that August, hostages were executed one by one by ISIS “executioner” Mohammed Emwazi, dubbed “Jihadi John,” but Mueller wasn’t among them; instead, the terror group emailed threats to her family, demanding millions in euros or she would be killed.
In February 2015, the group claimed she’d been killed accidentally in a Jordanian airstrike, which in fact never took place.
[Photo Via YouTube]