Washington announced in October 2019 that US troops had killed al-Baghdadi in an operation in northwestern Syria. (Getty)

The Karkh Criminal Court in Iraq’s capital city of Baghdad has sentenced Asma Mohammed, the first wife of the slain ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to death for her involvement with “ISIS terrorist activities” and for “detaining Yazidi women in her home”.

“The convicted terrorist detained Yazidi women in her house, who were then kidnapped by ISIS militants in the Sinjar district, west of Nineveh province,” according to a statement by Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council.

The court’s decision was based on several articles of Iraq’s Anti-Terrorism Law No. 13 of 2005 and under Article 7/1 of the Yazidi Survivors Law No. 8 of 2021.

Asma Mohammed, in an interview with Saudi Arabian Al-Arabia channel, aired on 15 February, expressed scepticism about ISIS’s narrative on the death of US citizen Kayla Mueller. 

Mueller, an American aid worker from Arizona, was captured by ISIS in August 2013 in Aleppo, Syria. ISIS announced her death in February 2015, claiming she was killed in a Jordanian airstrike, a claim disputed by US authorities.

Mohammed said she met Mueller only once and learned that Mueller was one of al-Baghdadi’s “slaves.” Mohammed said she had no information about the circumstances surrounding Mueller’s encounter with al-Baghdadi or her demise. Reports indicate Mueller was repeatedly raped by al-Baghdadi.

Washington announced in October 2019 that US troops had killed al-Baghdadi in an operation in northwestern Syria, five years after he proclaimed an Islamic “caliphate”, which he and his fighters ruled brutally across much of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

ISIS militants dominated large swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” before Baghdad, backed by an international coalition, fought the organisation and declared victory in late 2017.

US-backed forces defeated ISIS in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later, though remnants of the group continue to attack civilians and security forces in both countries.

Mohammed told Al-Arabiya that al-Baghdadi and other ISIS leaders were “obsessed” with women. She married al-Baghdadi in 1999, describing him initially as an ordinary individual without extremist inclinations. However, his ideology transformed after his incarceration by US forces in 2004.

She added that al-Baghdadi owned over 10 Yazidi women as “slaves” and married a 13-year-old girl at one point. After ISIS gained control over vast territories, al-Baghdadi became increasingly “arrogant,” aspiring for international recognition and extending control into Europe. Mohammed noted that foreign women played a significant role in attracting fighters to ISIS.

Asma Mohammed’s conviction underscores the ongoing efforts by Iraqi authorities to hold ISIS affiliates accountable for their roles in the terrorist organisation’s crimes.