Yazidi women released by Isis (Islamic State) this week were
gang-raped in public by fighters and tortured by their captors,
according to distressing accounts of their ordeals.
women and children were abducted from the town of Sinjar, in northern
Iraq, and held hostage by Isis 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, this week. They have told harrowing tales of the
physical and sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of their captors.
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 Isis 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.”
Yazidi survivors have also given disturbing accounts of their treatment
by Isis, 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, which found girls and women
were repeatedly raped and sold as sex slaves.
The report found that even children were being sold to Isis fighters or given as “gifts”.
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.
• Religious sect found in northern Iraq, Syria and the Caucasus
• Religion incorporates elements of many faiths, including Zoroastrianism
Principal divine figure, Malak Taus (Peacock Angel), is the supreme
angel of the seven angels who ruled the universe after God created it
• Many Muslims and other groups incorrectly view Yazidis as devil worshippers
• There are estimated to be around 500,000 Yazidis worldwide