New information has come to light surrounding Kayla Jean Mueller, the 26-year-old American hostage held by ISIL for nearly two years before being killed in February.
British newspaper The Independent first reported that Mueller was was not only raped repeatedly by the Islamic state’s self-appointed leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but also may have been part of a sex slave trade that was conducted by the wife of ISIL business associate Abu Sayyaf.
Sayaff’s wife, Umm, the alleged leader of the sex trade, was later captured in Iraq and told American interrogators that Mueller had, in fact, belonged to al-Baghdadi, and that the leader had “owned” her. Numerous reports have stated that Mueller had been forced to marry the ISIL commander.
— Firstpost (@firstpost) August 16, 2015
A young Yazidi girl who was able to escape from the home where Mueller was being held first came forward to tell U.S. commando officials about what was happening to Mueller in November of 2014, along with several other young girls who had also been held by the State.
The officials who spoke with the young women communicated the horrific information to the Mueller family in June after confirming the details.
Kayla Mueller’s parents, Carl and Marsha, later conveyed to ABC News and the Associated Press that the Independent report was accurate.
A native of Prescott, Arizona, Kayla Mueller was captured outside of a Doctors Without Borders center in August 2013 in Aleppo; she was then held in Syria and died in Raqqah nearly two years later in an airstrike conducted by Jordanian forces, according to the Islamic State.
ISIS sent photos of Kayla’s body to her family as proof of her death, which was quickly confirmed by the White House. The exact details of her death, however, have never been confirmed by U.S. officials.
After the story of her sexual abuse at the hands of the self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State questions remain. http://t.co/EBmv41nufx
— Lawrence Wright (@lawrence_wright) August 14, 2015
Mueller’s fellow victims said that young girls and women were often given to ISIS/ISIL fighters as “rewards” or “presents,” upon their accomplishments.
Reports stating that Mueller had refused numerous chances to escape the brutality of the Islamic State, which was further corroborated by the 14-year-old escapee, who told officials that she had been held with Mueller for two months in a home in al-Shadadiya. The girl says she asked Mueller to leave with them, but the young aid worker wouldn’t go, fearing that she would draw attention to the group.
“No matter how long it takes, the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death,” President Obama stated in February, and that the young humanitarian “epitomized all that is good in our world.”
[Photo via ABC News/YouTube]