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World
04 Jun 2017

Yazidi activist held as ISIS sex slave returns to Iraq

24-year-old Nadia Murad, a Yazidi activist who was held as a sex slave by ISIS militants, returned to her village Kocho in northwest Iraq.

Murad was one of around 7,000 Yazidi women and girls captured by ISIS in August 2014.

She was repeatedly tortured and raped by ISIS militants in Mosul before escaping and reaching a refugee camp, eventually making her way to Germany.

In context

Yazidi activist recalls horrors of ISIS atrocities
Activist Murad sheds light on ISIS atrocities against Yazidis

Atrocities

Activist Murad sheds light on ISIS atrocities against Yazidis

Murad has become a global activist who has appealed for international support towards the Yazidi religious minority that has suffered many atrocities at the hands of ISIS.

ISIS views the Yazidis as devil worshippers and has been accused of genocide against them.

Murad's appeals have earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and the role of a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

ISIS slaughter of Yazidis could be genocide

Over 5,000 Yazidis were slaughtered by ISIS in the 2014 attack in Syria and Iraq, which the UN argues is a genocide. The genocide designation, if made official, would be the first recognized genocide by non-state actors, rather than a country.

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Appalling

ISIS militants slaughtered nearly half of Kocho's residents

"I am a daughter of this village," Murad said.

Her visit to Kocho came under heavy security after Iranian-backed militias fighting alongside Iraqi armed forces managed to liberate the village last week from ISIS.

Murad said she never thought it would be possible for her to return to Kocho.

Nearly half of Kocho's 2,000 Yazidis were killed in the 2014 ISIS attacks.

Horror

Tearful Murad recalls ISIS massacre in Kocho

Murad wept when she visited her former school in Kocho.

She recalled how ISIS militants had gathered all of Kocho's residents at the school, executed the men and separated the children and sent them to training camps.

ISIS also forced women and girls to marry militants and enslaved them.

As many as 3,500 Yazidi women and girls are still believed to be enslaved.

Personal loss

ISIS killed Murad's mother, six of her brothers

Six of Murad's nine brothers were executed in the Kocho massacre. He mother too was killed because she was considered too old for sexual enslavement.

ISIS is still holding one of Murad's nieces captive. Her sister Khayriyah, 30, too was enslaved for five months before she escaped.

Overall, 18 of Murad's family members were murdered by ISIS or are missing.

Murad's efforts earn her respect from Yazidi community

Murad's campaign for Yazidi rights have earned her international acclaim and respect from her community. She now lives in Germany and will be releasing her memoir titled: "The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State".

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