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A young Yazidie tells of an American’s ordeal at the hands of the leader of IS

Photo sent by the Daily Courier of American Kayla Mueller in Prescott, Arizona in 2013 (THE DAILY COURIER/MATT HINSHAW)

Photo sent by the Daily Courier of American Kayla Mueller in Prescott, Arizona in 2013 (THE DAILY COURIER/MATT HINSHAW)

A young Yazidie told a US court on Monday that she saw the leader of the Islamic State (IS) take young American hostage Kayla Mueller hostage “for the night”.

As a member of this ethnic and religious minority persecuted by IS, Lia Mulla gave a chilling testimony at the trial of El Shafee el-Sheikh, a jihadist accused of being part of a trio specializing in capturing and execute western hostages.

Kayla Mueller, kidnapped in Syria in August 2013 just before her 25th birthday, was for a time under surveillance by these three British-accented men, nicknamed “The Beatles” by their inmates, several former European hostages at the bar said. met her in detention.

Lia Mulla met her a year later after she too was captured by IS jihadists near the Sinjar Mountains in northwestern Iraq.

Placed in the same cell as the American, she said she communicated “mainly with her hands and a few Arabic words”, but only in the absence of their guards who had forbidden them to switch.

They were imprisoned in “a red house” for about a week, under the control of a married couple, “Abou Sayef and Oum Sayef”. “She treated us like slaves,” “he scared us by showing us beheading videos and threatening us with weapons.”

– “The Dirty House” –

The situation got worse when they were transferred to “the dirty house” along with another young Yazidi woman, she said.

The federal court in Alexandria where the trial of El Shafee el-Sheikh takes place, on April 5, 2022 in Virginia (AFP / SAUL LOEB)

The federal court in Alexandria where the trial of El Shafee el-Sheikh takes place, on April 5, 2022 in Virginia (AFP / SAUL LOEB)

“Why did you call him that?” asked prosecutor Alicia Cook. “Because they used to take young women there to rape them.”

One night, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whom she met in one of its first prisons and calls ‘Abu Khalid’, entered the cell where the three women are sleeping.

“He took Kayla for the night,” she said. “When he brought her back the next morning, she was very sad, nervous and crying.”

“She told us that he raped her and that he would kill her if she tried to run away.”

“It happened another time,” Lia Mulla added, modestly adding that “Yazidi women” had suffered the same fate.

– “Tell the world” –

The young Yazidie then decides to escape. She tells her two cellmates about her plan, but Kayla Mueller “is too afraid of being beheaded” to follow her.

However, the American asks her, when she gets out, to “tell the world” what is happening to her.

Lia Mulla manages to escape through a window. She came into contact with Americans through a friend of her brother. “I told them there was a young American girl being held by ISIS…and everyone else.”

Despite this testimony, Kayla Mueller will not survive this experience.

Photo provided by Syrian Democratic Forces or ISIS fighter El Shafee el-Sheikh on February 10, 2018 (Syrian Democratic Forces/Handout)

Photo provided by Syrian Democratic Forces or ISIS fighter El Shafee el-Sheikh on February 10, 2018 (Syrian Democratic Forces/Handout)

In February 2015, ISIS assured her family that Kayla had been killed in an airstrike led by Jordan. A statement that the American authorities have never been able to convince.

His death and the execution of three American hostages featured in propaganda videos left 33-year-old El Shafee el-Sheikh to face trial in the United States.

Stripped of his British citizenship, he admits to having been a jihadist in the ranks of IS but denies being part of the “Beatles” despite scathing interviews he gave after his arrest by Syrian Kurdish forces in 2018 .

After ten days devoted to the allegation, his lawyers will be able to put forward their arguments from Tuesday afternoon.

If they decide not to and the defendant remains silent, the charge and plea could take place Wednesday morning. Then the judges retire to deliberate.

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