Islamic State held US hostage Kayla Mueller as sex slave
Kayla Mueller, who was killed in February, was chained in a room with other girls
The parents of the late American hostage Kayla Mueller say they were told by American officials that their daughter was repeatedly forced to have sex with Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group. Photograph: AP
The late American hostage Kayla Mueller was repeatedly raped by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group, US officials have said.
Ms Mueller, who was killed in February, was chained in a room with other girls. The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, would regularly enter and lead Mueller away, her parents said.
“She would be gone for some time, taken to Baghdadi’s room, and then she would come back crying and tell the other girls what had happened,” said her mother, Marsha Mueller, in a telephone interview Friday, relaying the account of her daughter’s rapes, shared with the family by US officials.
The information, first published by British Independent newspaper, confirms reports that Ms Mueller (26), was a sexual slave of the Islamic State, which has created a system of organised rape of women considered infidels.
Details of her captivity, including her repeated rape by the leader of the organization, were pieced together by US officials based on interviews with two girls from the Yazidi ethnic group enslaved alongside Ms Mueller, the parents said.
“We were told that Kayla had to ‘marry’ Baghdadi, but we all understand what that means,” said her father, Carl Mueller.
“She was his property,” he said.
Ms Mueller was abducted August 4th, 2013, in northern Syria. Ms Mueller’s death in captivity was announced in February. Though the group said Ms Mueller died in a Jordanian air raid made in retaliation for Islamic State’s gruesome killing of a Jordanian pilot, US officials and others have challenged that version, saying there was no indication how or when she died.
Her family said it suspects that Ms Mueller might have been murdered by IS in retaliation for Jordan’s killing of its prisoner Sajida Rishawi, a prisoner who had participated in the 2005 hotel suicide bombings in Amman.
Ms Mueller’s parents first thought their daughter had become the “property,” or sexual slave, of a man known as Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic State operative in charge of energy operations. But in June, they said, US officials told them she had been the slave of Baghdadi.
The officials drew that conclusion partly by interviewing Abu Sayyaf’s wife and a Yazidi slave seized in a US Special Operations raid on Abu Sayyaf’s Syrian compound in May. He was killed.
Marsha Mueller said her daughter was a protector to the younger Yazidi girls. “They looked at her as a mother figure,” she said.
In a letter to her family that she wrote last spring before her death, Mueller says she had been “treated with the utmost respect + kindness”, adding that she was being kept in a safe location, “completely unharmed + healthy”.
Ms Mueller’s parents have established a humanitarian foundation in her name.
Copyright the New York Times. Additional: Guardian service