Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar, aka Umm Sayyaf, 25, admitted to FBI
agents last year that Islamic State head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
"owned" Mueller during her captivity at Sayyaf's residence, and that
"owning" her was equivalent to enslaving her, according to the
Mueller was raped repeatedly by al-Baghdadi while in captivity in
Syria, U.S. officials and the Mueller family spokeswoman said last
August. Mueller's family could not immediately be reached for
comment on Monday.
Sayyaf, an Iraqi citizen and wife of Abu Sayyaf, a senior Islamic
State leader until his death last May, is currently in Iraqi custody
for her terrorism-related activities, according to a statement from
John Carlin, the Justice Department's chief of national security.
Monday's charges "reflect that the U.S. justice system remains a
powerful tool to bring to bear against those who harm our citizens
abroad," Carlin said in the statement.
Carlin's spokesman, Marc Raimondi, told Reuters by email that the
U.S. government was "fully supportive" of Sayyaf's transfer to Iraqi
custody, and that the Justice Department continues to "cooperate
with authorities in Iraq to support a prosecution through to its
completion and to assist in ensuring that justice is served."
The department firmly believes that Sayyaf will be held to account
for her crimes, "though we cannot guarantee any particular result,"
[to top of second column]
Mueller, of Prescott, Arizona, went to Turkey in December 2012 to
work for a Turkish organization providing humanitarian aid to Syrian
refugees along the Syrian border. She was seized in August 2013
while leaving a hospital in Aleppo in northern Syria.
Al-Baghdadi personally brought Mueller to be imprisoned inside the
Sayyafs' home in Syria, U.S. officials told ABC News in August.
Sayyaf was charged on Monday with providing material support to a
foreign terrorist organization that resulted in a person's death,
and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Fifty-eight of the 80 individuals accused by U.S. prosecutors of
Islamic State-related crimes have faced the same charge, though the
vast majority have not been accused of facilitating anyone's death.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Eric Walsh, Bernard Orr)
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