'I Have Ruined My Life': German Jihadi Bride Facing Death Penalty in Iraq
A German teenage girl facing the death penalty has revealed how she has ruined her life after running off to join the Daesh and become a jihadi bride.
Linda Wenzel, who was just 15 when she fled her country to marry a Daesh militant she met online, now admits: "I do not know how I came up with the stupid idea to go to the Islamic State. I have ruined my life."
The teenager is anxiously awaiting trial in Baghdad next month, as Iraq has no extradition agreement with Germany.
She has been reunited with her mother Katharina for the first time in more than a year, a scene captured on German public television channel "Das Erste" which was broadcast on December 14. It showed the actual moment the pair came face to face, appearing slightly hesitant at first before finally embracing.
Wearing a headscarf and dark-colored Islamic "kaftan" robe, the youngster was later seen with a clear smile on her face. Her mother handed over a small cuddly toy with a red Christmas hat to remind her daughter of better times they spent as a family during the festive holiday season at their home in Germany.
The clear threat of the forthcoming trial in the Iraqi capital, however, is weighing heavily on the minds of the family as Linda could potentially face a lengthy prison sentence or even capital punishment.
Her father Reiner Wenzel said: "I want so much that my Linda comes home again healthy. I will always be there for her. I fear for her. The authorities absolutely have to bring her to Germany so that she can get a fair trial."
Under German law, the likelihood is that she might only be convicted for up to 10 years in prison for membership of a terrorist group.
In September, Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi said the German teenager might face the death penalty although the Iraqi judiciary is still determining the charges that will be levied against her.
"You know teenagers under certain laws, they are accountable for their actions especially if the act is a criminal activity when it amounts to killing innocent people," he said.
It remains to be seen, however, whether prosecutors will demand the death penalty in court.
The schoolgirl claims she never fought for Daesh, however, she has admitted forging her mother's signature and buying a ticket to fly to Istanbul to meet her future husband.
She was captured in Mosul in July by Iraqi soldiers who dragged her filthy and wounded from a former ISIS stronghold. It has been alleged the teenager was an active member in the special brigade that checked women's clothing on the streets of the so-called caliphate.