German Islamic State bride is facing child abuse charges for taking her children to Syria
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A German woman is facing child abuse charges for taking her three young children to Islamic State-run northern Syria and subjecting them to military training, indoctrination and witnessing a public execution.
The so-called ‘Isil bride’, Carla-Josephine S., has been charged with the neglect of her duty of care and child abduction, along with four other charges, in the first case of its kind in Germany and one of the first in Europe. If she is found guilty, she faces up to 15 years in prison.
In the trial, the Düsseldorf state court will hear how the 32-year-old took her three young children to the Islamic State-held town of Raqqa in late 2015, leaving without warning while her husband was away on a business trip.
According to the indictment, once in Syria, all three children aged between three and seven were indoctrinated into radical Islamist thought and forced to watch a public execution.
The woman then enrolled her six-year-old son in a weapons training programme and, when he questioned the radical ideology, reported him to the religious police, who beat him as punishment. In 2018 the son died in an artillery attack.
In 2016 Ms S. remarried and had a further child. Her new husband, a militant from east Africa, taught her how to shoot a Kalashnikov and she then joined an all female fighting unit, the indictment states.
In the summer of 2017 she left Raqqa with her four children, leaving behind her husband, who later died in battle. She returned to Germany last year and has been in detention since June.
Several former Isis brides have gone on trial in Germany in recent months as the country’s judicial system processes dozens of women who have found their way back since the collapse of the jihadist caliphate.
But the Düsseldorf trial marks a first due to the string of charges against Ms S. relating to the abuse of her children. As well as charges of joining a foreign terror network and using banned weapons, Ms S. faces four counts of abusing her children, with the most severe charge holding a five-year sentence.
A native German, Ms S. met her husband, a north African migrant, at the age of 18 and converted to Islam. She then took on a particularly strict interpretation of the religion, donning the full niqab for walks around her home town of Oberhausen, North Rhine-Westphalia.
On the first day of the trial, Ms S. reportedly told the court that her first husband beat her and that she fled to Turkey, and then into Syria, in order to escape from him.
The trial is expected to last for ten days with the verdict due on April 24. In a similar case in France last year, a woman who took her children to Syria was jailed for 14-years on charges including child abduction.