Attorney Amal Clooney during a panel discussion on media freedom at United Nations headquarters. (AP/File)
- Sarah O. sentenced to 6.5 years behind bars in Germany
- Victim: ‘No conviction can make up for our suffering’
LONDON: Renowned human rights defender Amal Clooney has secured the prosecution of a Daesh member who abused, enslaved and assisted in the rape of captured Yazidi women.
Clooney’s client was a Yazidi woman who was taken and enslaved at the age of 14 by the notorious terrorist group.
Her captors were an Algerian woman known as Sarah O. and her husband, a German-Turkish national known as Ismail S. According to the Daily Mail, he remains at large.
Sarah O. was arrested in Turkey in February 2018. After seven months in custody, she was deported to Germany and put on trial.
The verdict was heard last Wednesday, and saw Sarah O. sentenced to six and a half years behind bars in Germany.
She was convicted of membership in a foreign terrorist organization, assault, deprivation of liberty, aiding and abetting rape, enslavement, and religious and gender-based persecution as crimes against humanity.
From 2015 onward, the couple enslaved Yazidi women and girls who were captured by Daesh as it expanded its so-called caliphate throughout Iraq and Syria.
Yazidis, considered heretics by Daesh, were subjected to a catalogue of brutal abuse. Men were often instantly killed and women killed or enslaved.
The survivors were often subjected to acts of extreme cruelty, including sexual enslavement, torture and summary execution.
Over two years, Sarah O. and Ismail S. enslaved seven Yazidi women, some of whom were sold on to others and one of whom — a 14-year-old girl — died while in their captivity.
Sarah O. beat the prisoners and assisted in her husband’s sexual abuse of them, helping to “prepare them” for rape. She also forced them into slave labor in her house.
The victim, whose identity remains hidden under German law, said: “No conviction can make up for our suffering, but I am immensely grateful to the German Federal Prosecutors and the German court for investigating and shedding light on the crimes committed against the Yazidis, and I hope that many more countries will follow this good example.”
Clooney, 43, has been active for years in pushing for justice for the countless Yazidi women subjected to horrors at the hands of Daesh.
One of Clooney’s colleagues representing the Yazidi women in the Dusseldorf court, Natalie von Wistinghausen, said: “For the first time ever, a court handed down a conviction for religious and gender-based persecution, and this recognition is of utmost importance for our client and for all Yazidi women, for their religious community as a whole, as well as for other victims of gender-based violence.”