MEDIA ADVISORY & BACKGROUND
WHAT: Survivors of Yazidi genocide seek justice in U.S. court for crimes committed by ISIL member Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar (aka “Umm Sayyaf”)
WHEN: October 15, 2021, 10 a.m. Eastern Time
WHERE: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse
401 Courthouse Square
Alexandria, VA 22314
MEDIA CONTACT: Pearl J. Piatt, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 213-229-7963
Five Yazidi women have filed a motion in the case against ISIL member Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar (also known as “Umm Sayyaf”) before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Yazidi women are all victims of horrific crimes perpetrated by Umm Sayyaf and believe she should be prosecuted in the United States for her role in the genocide of the Yazidis.
The women survived egregious crimes committed by Umm Sayyaf and her husband, Abu Sayyaf, an ISIL senior leader, as part of ISIL’s campaign to eradicate the Yazidi people. During ISIL’s massacre of the Yazidis in the Sinjar region of Iraq in 2014, four of the women—all of whom were teenagers at the time—were kidnapped and sold as slaves, or sabaya, a central tactic in ISIL’s genocidal campaign. The fifth woman’s 15-year-old daughter, Inas, was also held at the Sayyaf house.
The Sayyafs enslaved the Yazidi girls at their home in Al-Shaddadi, Syria. While enslaved, they, along with other Yazidis and a captured American aid worker, Kayla Mueller, were subjected to torture, rape, beatings, and starvation. Umm Sayyaf routinely prepared and led the girls to be raped by ISIL militants, including by Umm Sayyaf’s husband and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader and self-proclaimed caliph of ISIL. Kayla was reportedly killed, and Inas was never seen again.
Umm Sayyaf has never been brought to justice for her crimes against the Yazidis. Following her capture by U.S. troops in 2015, the U.S. Government filed a criminal complaint against Umm Sayyaf solely for knowingly conspiring to provide material support to ISIL. But the case has been dormant since that time. The Yazidi women have filed this motion to ensure they have a voice in the process of holding Umm Sayyaf accountable for her crimes against them.
About the Center for Justice and Accountability
The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) is a San Francisco-based international human rights organization. CJA works globally with communities impacted by torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious human rights abuses to seek truth, justice, and redress.
About Amal Clooney
Amal Clooney is a lawyer admitted to practice in the UK and the US who specializes in international law and human rights. She represents Yazidi genocide survivors in legal proceedings in various jurisdictions including in the first genocide trial against an ISIL member. She is counsel to Yazidi Nobel laureate Nadia Murad and to Yazda, a charity established to support the Yazidi community in the aftermath of ISIS’ genocide in Iraq and Syria.
About Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is a leading international law firm. Consistently ranking among the world’s top law firms in industry surveys and major publications, Gibson Dunn is distinctively positioned in today’s global marketplace with 1,500 lawyers and 20 offices, including Beijing, Brussels, Century City, Dallas, Denver, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Paris, San Francisco, São Paulo, Singapore, and Washington, D.C.