The German teenager who is facing the death penalty in Iraq after joining ISIS has said that she was groomed by a Jordanian girl who linked her with a jihadist online.
Linda Wenzel was arrested by Iraqi authorities after they found her during the liberation of Mosul from ISIS control. She has been accused of taking part in combat for the jihadists, although Wenzel strongly denies these claims.
The 16-year-old is now being held in a Baghdad prison where her fate will be decided in the near future by Iraqi courts. Iraq’s Prime Minister said last month that she could potentially be given the death sentence if it is decided that her actions were serious enough.
Wenzel was only 15 when she fled eastern Germany to become an ISIS bride and claims a girl who called herself Fatema conviced her to convert to Islam after the pair started chatting on jihadist forums.
She has since said that Fatema introduced her to her future husband, a former ISIS fighter named Abu Usama al-Shisani. She also said that she told al-Shisani about problems she was having at home and he convinced her to run away and marry him if she joined ISIS. He also told Wenzel that he would get her the travel documents that she needed to travel to Turkey. Apparently the pair got married “over the phone” and then united and moved along the Turkish borders into Syria together, eventually reaching the ISIS stronghold of Mosul.
The story doesn’t end there. According to Wenzel, her husband was killed in action three months after she arrived in Mosul and her request to fly home was rejected by the jihadists. She was later discovered hiding in a basement in July after spending a year in Iraq since leaving her home. She insists that she only lived as a housemaid and took no part in combat.
Although Wenzel’s story does seem plausible, the Iraq Prime Minster Haider al-Abadi said last month that she could receive the death penalty for her actions:
You know teenagers under certain laws, they are accountable for their actions especially if the act is a criminal activity when it amounts to killing innocent people.
But it sounds Wenzel was just a vulnerable teenager who made a huge mistake – if her statement is true then she didn’t even kill anyone in combat and simply lived as a prisoner in Iraq. We’ll have to wait and see what her fate is if the court case begins, although it could be settled in her home country as Germany’s foreign ministry are working on getting the teen home. Speaking from her prison cell in Baghdad, Wenzel said:
I just want to get away from here. I want to get away from the war, from the many weapons, from the noise. I just want to go home to my family.
To read about Wenzel’s story from the beginning, click HERE.