A young Yazid recounts the ordeal of an American at the hands of the ISIS leader


Photo reported by US newspaper Daily Courier Kayla Mueller in Prescott, Arizona in 2013 (THE DAILY COURIER/MATT HINSHAW)

A young Yazidi woman told a US court on Monday that she watched the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) take young American hostage Kayla Mueller “all night.”

Leah Al Mulla, a member of this ethnic and religious minority persecuted by the Islamic State group, gave horrific testimony at the trial of Al Shafi’i Sheikh, a jihadist accused of being part of a trio that specializes in capturing and executing Western hostages.

Kayla Mueller, who was kidnapped in August 2013 in Syria just before her 25th birthday, was for a time under the supervision of these three men with a British accent, whose prisoners called them “The Beatles,” several former European hostages said at the pub. I met her in custody.

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

She, who was placed in the same cell with the American, said she was communicating with “mainly her hands and a few Arabic words,” but only in the absence of their guards who prevented them from exchanging.

For about a week, they were detained in a “red house”, under the control of the spouses “Abu Seif and Umm Seif”. “You treated us like slaves,” “He terrified us when he showed us videos of beheadings and threatened us with weapons.”

– ‘Dirty house’ –

She added that the situation worsened when they were taken with another young Yazidi woman to the “dirty house”.

The Alexandria Federal Court where El Shafei Elsheikh's trial takes place, on April 5, 2022 in Virginia (AFP/SAUL LOEB)

The Alexandria Federal Court where El Shafei Elsheikh’s trial takes place, on April 5, 2022 in Virginia (AFP/SAUL LOEB)

“Why did you call him that?” asked Attorney General Alicia Cook. “Because that’s where they used to take girls to rape them.”

One night, “ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whom she met in one of her first prisons and called” Abu Khaled”, entered the cell in which the three women sleep.

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

“She told us he raped her and if she tries to escape he will kill her.”

“It has happened again,” added Lea Mulla, adding modestly that “Yazidi women” suffered the same fate.

– ‘Tell the world’ –

Then the young Yazidi decides to escape. She tells two of her cellmates about her plan, but Kayla Muller is “afraid to be beheaded” and can’t catch up.

The American asks her, if she gets out of it, to “tell the world” what is happening to her.

Leah Malla managed to escape through the window. And through a friend of her brother, she then communicated with the Americans. “I told them this young American girl is being held by ISIS…and all the rest.”

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

A photo provided by the Syrian Democratic Forces to ISIS fighter Al-Shafei Al-Sheikh on February 10, 2018 (Syrian Democratic Forces / Statement)

A photo provided by the Syrian Democratic Forces to ISIS fighter Al-Shafei Al-Sheikh on February 10, 2018 (Syrian Democratic Forces / Statement)

In February 2015, ISIS confirmed to her family that Kayla had been killed in an airstrike led by Jordan. An explanation that never convinced the US authorities.

His death, and the execution of three American hostages in the form of propaganda videos, led to the trial of Al-Shafei Al-Sheikh, 33, in the United States.

After being stripped of his British citizenship, he admitted to being a jihadist in the ranks of ISIS, but denied being part of the Beatles despite the interviews he gave after his arrest by Syrian Kurdish forces in 2018.

After ten days allotted for the indictment, his attorneys will be able to present their arguments on Tuesday afternoon.

If they decide not to and if the defendant remains silent, the indictment and appeal can be filed on Wednesday morning. Then the jurors retire to deliberate.

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