ISIS widow charged over U.S. hostage death

Palestinian demonstrators hold portraits of Kayla Mueller, a 26-year-old American who died while being held hostage by ISIS.

Palestinian demonstrators hold portraits of Kayla Mueller, a 26-year-old American who died while being held hostage by ISIS.


The widow of late ISIS financial leader Abu Sayyaf was charged Monday for her alleged role in the death of U.S. aid worker Kayla Mueller last year.

Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar, a 25-year-old known as Umm Sayyaf, was accused of conspiring to provide support to the violent extremists, forcibly detaining Mueller and other captives in the couple’s homes, where she was sexually assaulted by ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Bahar acknowledged that Baghdadi “owned” Mueller during her captivity at the Sayyaf residences, describing “owning” as equivalent to slavery, federal prosecutors said.

ISIS fighters claimed that Mueller, who was kidnapped in the Syrian city of Aleppo in August 2013, was killed in a February 2015 coalition air strike that buried her in rubble.

U.S. officials say the circumstances of her death remain unclear. She was 26.

Abu Sayyaf was killed in May 2015 in a rare U.S. commando raid inside war-torn Syria.

Bahar was captured during the operation, and U.S. forces also rescued a young woman from the Yazidi minority and seized a stash of firearms, the complaint recalled.

If convicted, Bahar faces life in prison. She is currently in Iraqi custody, facing prosecution for terror-related activities.

“We fully support the Iraqi prosecution of Sayyaf and will continue to work with the authorities there to pursue our shared goal of holding Sayyaf accountable for her crimes,” Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in a statement.

“We will continue to pursue justice for Kayla and for all American victims of terrorism.”


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