ISIS Fighter Reveals Depravity of Yazidi Sex-Slave Trade During Trial

Yazidi community
Haifa, a 36-year-old woman from Iraq’s Yazidi community who was taken as a sex slave by Islamic State group fighters, talks with journalists in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk, on November 17. Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty

The trial of an Islamic State militant group (ISIS) member in northern Iraq has revealed more about the brutal crimes the jihadist group committed against the Yazidi minority sect.

The suspect, 40-year-old Mohammed Ahmed, testified before the Nineveh investigations court located south of Mosul, the only such arena in northern Iraq where judges can try extremism cases. His horrifying account of the acts he perpetrated while a member of the group was detailed in depth by Britain's Telegraph newspaper, which obtained rare access to the court proceedings.

His charges are grim and numerous: four instances of kidnapping and rape, and 10 murders. His victims? Yazidi women, and men and boys belonging to the sect, respectively.

In his address to Judge Arif, the suspect admitted the series of crimes that were committed after ISIS fighters overran the Yazidi-majority region of Sinjar in mid-2014.

"I shot them there in the school hall," he told the judge. "I think I killed 10 or 12 of them, including some children."

The account aligns with reports from Sinjar at the time: mass executions of Yazidi men and boys. But not the women: ISIS fighters instead kidnapped them, keeping many captive and holding them as sex slaves.

Ahmed admitted that he took part in the kidnap of Yazidi women, excusing his actions by saying he was following the orders of his ISIS leader. Upon taking the women back to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the largest city the group has controlled since its rise to prominence in 2014, he brought them into the grips of ISIS slavery.

The members of the group used them as sex slaves, passing them around, according to The Telegraph's report. Ahmed said he personally had four sex slaves who were between the ages of 22 and 30.

"I kept the four girls in an abandoned house. Each night I would have sex with a different one," he told the judge. "Sometimes they seemed scared, but they never said no. They were all virgins when I got them and more beautiful than you can imagine."

In fact, he said the women became a portion of his ISIS pay packet.

"They were part of my salary: I received 60,000 dinars [$595] a month, and the women as a bonus," the suspect said.

When he had enough of the women, he sold them off. "I gave them to another fighter in return for $200 each," he told the judge.

With ISIS's Iraqi-Syrian shrinking weeks after the liberation of Mosul, more accounts of the plight of the Yazidis will likely continue to emerge, with Iraqi forces rescuing 180 women just during the nine-month operation to recapture Mosul.

Ahmed is now detained in what Iraqi officials told The Telegraph are inadequate prison conditions—rights groups say many face torture at the hands of Iraqi forces. Judge Arif said his case will go to a higher court, where he will face either life imprisonment or capital punishment.

The harrowing stories of other Yazidi women sold into rape and torture, meanwhile, are out there, perhaps never to be told.