DUHOK — Kurdish Yazidi women released by Islamic State armed group (IS) this week were gang-raped in public by fighters and tortured by their captors, according to distressing accounts of their ordeals.
Hundreds of women and children were abducted from the town of Shingal (Sinjar), in northwest Iraq, and held hostage by IS for over eight months. Some were sold to fighters as sex slaves or given as ‘prizes’. Many were beaten and forced to convert to Islam.
More than 200 were released by fighters in Himera, near Kirkurk, earlier this week. They have told harrowing tales of the physical and sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of their captors.
Ziyad Shammo Khalaf, who works with the Yazda organisation to support Yazidi victims, said children were separated from their mothers and “distributed among houses” in Mosul and Tal Afar.
“If you come and sit with the girls you will find different stories from girl to girl. A lot of them have been sold to IS fighters, they have been raped in […] public, and by more than two or three people at a time,” he told the International Business Times. “They were tortured, beaten and subject to any type of violence.”
Other Yazidi survivors have also given disturbing accounts of their treatment by IS, with one women describing how militants were forcing hostages to give their blood for transfusions.
The atrocities endured by Yazidi sex slaves was exposed more fully in an 87-page report released by Amnesty International in November 2014, who found girls and women were repeatedly raped and sold as sex slaves.
The report found that even children were being sold to IS fighters or given as “gifts”.
IS considers Yazidis heretical and published an article in its propaganda magazine Dabiq attempting to justify the practice of selling them using theological rulings of early Islam.
However, experts say the practice has caused friction among the ranks of the extremist group. Sajad Jiyad, Research Fellow and Associate Member at the Iraqi Institute for Economic Reform, told The Independent that many supporters had been in denial about the trafficking of kidnapped Yazidi women until the Dabiq article was published.
Islamic State group (IS) has extended its control on most parts of Shingal-Sinjar district (124 km west of Mosul) on August 3, 2014, which led thousands of Kurdish families to flee to Mount Sinjar, where they were trapped in it and suffered from significant lack of water and food, killing and abduction of thousands of Yazidis as well as rape and captivity of thousands of women.
Thousands of Yazidi women and girls have been forced to marry or been sold into sexual slavery by the jihadists, according to Amnesty International.
Source: The Independent