In the wake of the publication of the Chilcot report, a woman who was taken as a sex slave by Isis has described how she and other young women were captured and repeatedly raped by members of the terror group.
Nadia Murad, 22, was one of more than 5,000 Yazidi women kidnapped by Isis when the group took hold of territories in northern Iraq.
Speaking to the Mirror, Ms Murad revealed how in the summer of 2014 Isis fighters rounded up all Yazidis in the village of Kocho, where she lived in Iraq, killing 312 people and taking the younger women as “sabia” – slaves.
Isis told Yazidis “Convert to Islam or die,” said Ms Murad. “But no one agreed to convert”.
“They laughed at us. They said, ‘You are owned by IS. You will be married to us’.”
Ms Murad says she was taken to Mosul with 150 other girls where they were scrutinised by fighters and forced to “marry” them.
She described being taken as a slave by a man with a wife and daughter, who Ms Murad never met, however she would see his daughter’s name – Sarah – light up on his phone as he raped her.
“I never met her or his wife, but they knew what he was doing to me. They accepted their men were raping us. To IS women, we are not worth the value of animals,” she said.
In November 2014, Ms Murad sucessfully escaped from her captor after three months of abuse and torture, and made her way via a refugee camp to seek asylum in Stuttgart, Germany. She said she escaped knowing she would be killed if caught - “I preferred to be killed and just finally stop it”, she said.
She told the UN that an earlier escape attempt led to her being beaten up and gang raped by six militants as a form of punishment.
Following the publication of the Chilcot report, which found that former Prime Minister Tony Blair had overstated the case for military action in March 2003 as there was “no imminent threat” posed by Saddam Hussein, many have reiterated the case that the Iraq War may have contributed to the rise of Isis.
Isis began as an off-shoot of the militant group Al-Qaeda. It can trace its origins back to the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who in 2004, a year after the invasion of Iraq, allied himself to Osama Bin Laden and formed al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). In 2006, after Zarqawi's death, AQI created an umbrella organisation, Islamic State in Iraq.
Assessments made by Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in 2005, which are referenced in the Chilcot report, said Islamist insurgencies launched in response to the invasion had strengthened aql-Qaeda in the area. “Al Qaeda has capitalized on the Iraq jihad," an assessment in April said.
A later assessment in June said: “The merger of Al-Zarqawi’s organization with Al-Qaeda…has firmly placed it in a pre-eminent position in Iraq…a unified jihadist command may be emerging. Iraq is now seen by Al Qaeda as its main theater of operations.”
An estimated 3,000 Yazidi women and girls are currently held captive by Isis. The majority were taken prisoner in 2014.
The Yazidis, a religious Kurdish community, have been attacked and killed by Isis in both Iraq and Syria, in what constitutes an act of genocide according to United Nations' investigators.
Attempts have been made to rescue the women, but many who do so are killed, according to the Associated Press.
Ms Murad is now campaigning for European governments, including Britain, to do more to help Yazidis.
A Change.org petition has been set up by Rozin Khalil, a Yazidi teenager who came to Britain from Iraq in 2008, asking Home Secretary Theresa May, Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening, and Foreign Minister Philip Hammond to “prepare an action plan” to help the Yazdidi women and children held captive by Isis.
Ms Murad said: “What IS has done to the Yazidi people is genocide, the UK must offer more asylum to refugees. So many are in camps and they have been through terrible suffering.”
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