Defendant W. with defense attorney Aydin (archive): The verdict is imminent after two and a half years
Photo: Peter Kneffel / picture alliance / dpa
Jennifer W. rejects all guilt. Confidently and with a firm voice, the 30-year-old tried with her last word before the State Security Senate of the Munich Higher Regional Court, perhaps to avert a life sentence. She tries to sow doubt. Doubts about her former role in the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS). Doubts about her ability to influence her husband at the time. Above all, she had doubts that a Yazidi child died in her care in Fallujah, Iraq, in the summer of 2015. "To this day there is no evidence that the child is no longer alive," said Jennifer W. on Wednesday. It is the last day of the trial before the verdict in this first trial, which also involves the atrocities committed by IS against Yazidis.
In 2014, Jennifer W. traveled to IS in Iraq from Lohne in Lower Saxony. According to Islamic law, she married IS member Taha A. The couple lived in a house in Fallujah. There they kept a Yazidi mother and her child as slaves. Nora B. and Rania had been sold from one ISIS member to another and were abused by them. In 2015 they came to Taha A. and Jennifer W. There, too, they are said to have been beaten and humiliated almost every day.
Jennifer W. now says that mother and child were victims of ISIS and victims of their former husband.
"I'm so sorry for what you went through," she says.
"But this process is all about me."
She also "never made derogatory comments about Yezidism".
She found her religion in Islam, but she respects those of other faiths and has never tried to convert people.
Tied at 45 degrees
In the summer of 2015, Taha A. is said to have tied the girl to a window in the courtyard of the house at at least 45 degrees Celsius and exposed the girl to the blazing sun unprotected. He wanted to punish the five-year-old for making her bed. Rania's condition is said to have deteriorated noticeably. At some point she collapsed. Taha A. wanted to take the child to a hospital. This is what the child’s mother and Jennifer W. both described in court. It is unclear whether Rania ever arrived at a hospital, whether she died there or before.
The Federal Prosecutor has no doubt that the girl is dead.
In her plea, she called for a life sentence for Jennifer W., among other things, she was guilty of aiding and abetting attempted murder, enslavement resulting in death and membership in IS.
The defense had only called for a maximum of two years imprisonment because of IS membership.
Jennifer W. speaks of a murder trial without a murder victim.
She accuses the court of not bothering to hear witnesses who could exonerate her during the two and a half years of trial.
Instead, the judges would simply wipe away contradictions in the mother's testimony.
However, the defendant herself spoke of the girl's death in 2018.
She was in the car of an FBI agent when she accused her husband of killing Rania.
Jennifer W. thought the informant was an ISIS sympathizer who was supposed to bring her back to IS.
This is how the authorities found out about the dead girl.
"I wanted to make myself important"
Today Jennifer W. says that she told the undercover agent "some untruths" in the car.
"I wanted to make myself important." At the time, she wanted to make her husband bad.
Because of this, she claimed that he had killed a child and kept silent about the fact that he had taken it to the hospital.
At the time, she also portrayed her role in IS as bigger than she was.
Contrary to what was claimed, she never worked for the Hisba, the ISIS 'moral police.
"I cannot understand what kind of monster I was degraded to here," says Jennifer W. It was her sole fault that mother and child had no water and were beaten.
Jennifer W. disagrees.
“The child has always wanted to be close to me.
The child liked me. ”She would not have liked that much if the allegations were true, she says.
Jennifer W. contradicts the girl's mother.
It is not true that she had the same rights as him in the home of her Iraqi husband.
"An Arab man would never have tolerated such a loss of face." The idea that men and women are equal in the IS regime is "absurd".
In fact, she was powerless.
She had already said in an earlier submission that she could not have helped the child.
She portrayed Taha A. as a brutal person whom she too feared.
She did not dare to help the girl against her husband's will.
"I am very sorry with all my heart what my ex-husband did to Mrs. B.," says Jennifer W. "I will not stop hoping that the child will be found after all."
The Senate will give its verdict on October 25th.