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I will strike thee with great vengeance

Captured Isis jihadists in Iraq are getting a bloody eye for an eye

02 August 2017 - 07:19 By Josie Ensor
Gavel. File photo.
Gavel. File photo.
Image: Thinkstock

"I kept the four girls in an abandoned house. Each night I would have sex with a different one," the dishevelled-looking man 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."

The suspected Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) fighter standing before the Nineveh investigations court, 32km southeast of Mosul, seemed unrepentant as he confessed to his crimes: four counts of kidnap and rape of women belonging to the minority Yazidi sect and 10 counts of the murder of its men.

The evidence against Mohammed Ahmed filled several folders, which were stacked on top of a dozen or so others on Judge Arif's desk.

Arif continued to question 40-year-old Ahmed, who was struggling for breath and shaking. His eyes rolled and his chin lolled down to his chest. He had been made to wait outside in the blistering Iraqi sun since early morning and was suffering.

Ahmed was then made to recount the story of how he and other Isil fighters rounded up scores of Yazidi men and boys in a primary school in northern Iraq in 2014.

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

He said his commander then ordered him to take the prettiest girls in the town back to Mosul. From there, they were sold into slavery and passed around senior members.

Ahmed said he was presented with four, the eldest of whom was 30 and the youngest 22. "They were part of my salary. I received R8,000 a month and the women as a bonus," he said.

"What did you do when you were done with them?" the judge asked.

"I gave them to another fighter in return for R2,660 each. I was brainwashed. I thought the Yazidis were infidels, like Jews. That they were lower than Muslims and that what we were doing to them was OK."

Arif will now pass Ahmed's case on to a more senior judge for sentencing, where he could face life in prison or even beheading.

The battle for Mosul, which had been Isil's largest and most important territory in Iraq, may be over but the process of bringing the jihadist group's members to justice is just beginning. There are 12 judges sitting in Nineveh court - between them they can hear 40 to 50 cases a day. One said 5,000 Isil suspects were currently being held in makeshift prisons in Mosul and that last week he signed arrest warrants for 6500 more.

There have been reports of soldiers executing prisoners and dumping their corpses in the Tigris River, which runs through the middle of Mosul. For weeks, bodies have been washing up along its banks.

Some justify the killings as revenge for those murdered by the jihadists. "Many of us have shot them on sight," one soldier said. "Sometimes you have to take the law into your own hands."

- The Daily Telegraph