German woman who tortured and starved a young Yazidi girl gets 11 years in prison

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A German woman who tortured and starved a teenage girl from a persecuted minority has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a Bangladesh court for violating human rights, Dhaka’s…

German woman who tortured and starved a young Yazidi girl gets 11 years in prison

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A German woman who tortured and starved a teenage girl from a persecuted minority has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a Bangladesh court for violating human rights, Dhaka’s attorney general said Thursday.

Monique Jorgensen, a 35-year-old from Hamburg, confessed in an August 2017 police interrogation to torturing a 15-year-old Yazidi girl named Nimrudin with a rope and chains in 2016 in a compound where she was held by Jorgensen, prosecutor Mufti Anwar Hossain said.

The woman will be deported after serving her sentence, according to court officials.

The regional court in Dhaka sentenced Jorgensen to 12 years in prison on charges of human trafficking, sex slavery and tormenting the girl.

The prosecutor said the court found that Jorgensen tortured the girl by tying her up, putting her in a hot room and taking care of a 2-year-old son of the woman while depriving her of food. The court found no evidence of abuse of the girl’s 1-year-old daughter, said Anwar.

Jorgensen was arrested by Bangladesh police in 2016 after the girl was found in a disoriented state near the international airport in Dhaka. The child had been living with the woman.

The girl had initially been brought to Bangladesh after being sold to a Bangladeshi nongovernmental organization by an Uzbek immigrant, and the woman had treated her to a fake marriage by telling her mother and relatives that she had married a Bangladeshi man.

The Yazidi are Muslim Kurds whose ancestors migrated in the Middle East, but some have converted to other religions, which poses a problem in Bangladesh.

Jorgensen told police she brought the teenager to Bangladesh as a young housewife but deceived her into believing the Yazidi people were being oppressed and raped by Islamic State extremists in Iraq.

The arrest capped a global manhunt, and Jorgensen was extradited to Bangladesh earlier this year.

Jorgensen’s legal team issued a statement denying she had tortured the girl, describing the sentence as “political persecution.”

Jorgensen’s defense team said in the statement that she has always denied being involved in human trafficking and sexual abuse.

“In May 2017, a detective confirmed for the defendant that the name of the victim in police custody did not match that of the girl who had shown up for treatment at the hospital in 2016,” said the statement, which was released by human rights group Amnesty International.

The defense attorney said Jorgensen was acquitted of the charge of forcing the girl to have sex with several men to pay for treatment.

Bangladesh is home to more than 200,000 members of the Yazidi community, mostly living in the north of the country. They fled northern Iraq amid ISIS attacks in 2014.

Yazidi women are particularly vulnerable to rape and slavery because Islamic State fighters wear black masks and promise to protect their wives and daughters.

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has worked with the Yazidi community in Bangladesh, the group’s attorneys are appealing Jorgensen’s verdict.

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