It was the brutal captivity and murder that shocked the United States. The fresh faced, and wholesome young American woman who only wanted to help people, Kayla Mueller, was held as a sex slave, brutalized and eventually died in captivity having been held by an ISIS official, and abused by the leader. On Monday, a U.S. Federal court formally charged the official’s widow, Umm Sayyef with taking part in a conspiracy in relation to Mueller’s death. Officially, the charge is conspiracy due to her knowledge of Mueller’s captivity.
The charges are being made as a sort of “insurance policy” since it is unlikely Sayyef will ever appear in a U.S. Court. She was captured by U.S. forces in Syria in May 2015, and is currently being held by the Kurdish Regional Government. To make matters more complicated, Sayyef is an Iraqi citizen, and as such, the Obama Administration handed her over to the regional government for prosecution. That entity has done nothing but hold the woman since.
Charges against Sayyef stem from a combination of her interrogation and eyewitness reports from other women held in the house where she lived with her deceased husband, ISIS financial guru Aby Sayyef. From The Daily Beast:
A Justice Department spokesman said the U.S. is still “fully committed to the Iraqis putting her through their justice system. No cards were taken off the table when she was transferred to Iraqi custody, and we have consistently said the U.S. justice system is a powerful tool to use against those who harm or kill our citizens,” Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi told The Daily Beast….
The U.S. and Iraq do not have an extradition treaty. At the time Umm Sayyaf was captured, a U.S. official told The Daily Beast, “We discussed the idea of her surrender and extradition to the U.S. with senior-level [government of Iraq] officials, but ultimately that option was not available as Iraq has a constitutional prohibition on surrendering Iraqi citizens to foreign authorities.”
At this time, the U.S. government is not making any statement on where, when or how Kayla Mueller died. ISIS, or the Islamic State, maintains that she was killed in an air strike carried out by Jordanian forces in February 2015, but the American government officially says that they have conflicting information. There is no question on the sexual abuse, however, a fact confirmed last year by one of the other women held with Mueller who claimed that she was killed by ISIS forces.