Relaymedia

On Anniversary of Kayla Mueller's Death, Iraqi female Hostage Taker Charged

( [email protected] ) Feb 10, 2016 12:15 AM EST
On Monday, an Iraqi woman was charged for taking hostage an American aid worker who was killed in Syria last year. The Iraqi woman Umm Sayyaf was captured back in May in a Syria raid.
Christian aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller was 26 at the time of her death. Courtesy of Mueller Family

On Monday, an Iraqi woman was charged with taking hostage an American aid worker who was killed in Syria last year. The Iraqi woman Umm Sayyaf was captured back in May in a Syria raid.

The Washington Post reported that the woman, also known as Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar, was captured during a US commando raid in eastern Syria. She lost her husband, a senior Islamic State official that day during the assault. 

The Iraqi woman was charged in the federal court in Alexandria, Va. Her charges include engaging in a conspiracy with a foreign terrorist organization to provide material support, which resulted in a person's death. For months, the Justice Department officials and federal prosecutors have debated on what charges to file against Sayyaf. 

She was accused of having a hand at the imprisonment of Kayle Mueller, 26, of Prescott, Arizona. Mueller's case was a highly publicized one. Mueller was in the Syrian city of Aleppo when she was kidnapped. She was there to help the refugees wanting to leave the chaotic city. She suffered through constant abuse and rape from the leader of the Islamic state. On February of 2015, a media account related to the ISL released a statement that Mueller was killed by one of the many Jordanian airstrikes in Al-Raqqah. While there was a debate about who was responsible for the airstrikes that killed Mueller, the family announced that Mueller's death was confirmed by three photographs sent by ISIL. The intelligence community authenticated the photos. 

Sayyaf admitted that she and her husband were largely responsible for maintaining the custody of Mueller and three civilians. Sayyaf was subjected to repeated interrogations by the FBI-led High Value Detainee Interrogation Group before coming clean. Sayyaf revealed that she only thought Mueller was being held for ransom or at least some type of prisoner exchange strategy. She also told that her home was mainly used to keep significant amounts of cash that the Islamic State made through its oil and gas transactions. Her home was also regularly used by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State as well as other terrorists. 

Even with the charges, it does not mean Sayyaf will be transported to the United States. She is currently under the custody of the Iraqis. However, the officials said that the charges might, at least, bring some comfort to the Mueller's family. 

Tags : Iraqi woman, Sayyaf, ISIL, Kayla Mueller, terrorist