A German teenager who travelled to Iraq and married an “Islamic State” (IS) fighter after being radicalised online has said that she ruined her life by joining the terror group. Linda Wenzel, 17, was found hiding in a basement in Mosul by Iraqi forces when they liberated the city from IS in July. She is now awaiting trial in Baghdad where she faces a possible death penalty. Having left a note for her parents to say she was going to spend the weekend with a friend Wenzel fled to Turkey where she married a Chechen man who she had met online. She travelled with him to Syria and Iraq where he was killed in battle five months later.
Wenzel became a household name in Germany when a video recording of her capture was released by the Iraqi army. Wenzel’s mother and sister travelled to Baghdad for a brief meeting with her before her trial begins. During the meeting, which was broadcast on German news Wenzel said she that the “stupid idea” of joining IS had ruined her life.
It is reported that she was tasked with enforcing the strict Islamic dress code on women as well as cooking, cleaning and helping to look after children. She denied reports that she had trained to be a sniper and although there were weapons found in the bunker in which she was captured she says she never touched a gun. “I do not know how such a thing works,” Wenzel said. Interviewed by German media shortly after her arrest in July Wenzell said she that apart from a gunshot wound to her thigh and another injury to her knee sustained during helicopter attack she was doing well. I just want to get away from here,” she told journalists. “I want to get away from the war, from the many weapons, from the noise.”
“I just want to go home to my family,” she said
The German foreign ministry is trying to get Wenzell and three other German women imprisoned in Iraq returned to Germany, but there is currently no extradition treaty between the two countries. If she avoids the death penalty she faces 10 years in prison in Iraq, and if she is extradited to Germany she could face a similar sentence there.