German Schoolgirl Linda Wenzel Who Joined ISIS Faces 5 Years in Iraq Prison Before Execution

A German schoolgirl who fled to Iraq to join the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group has been reunited with her family in Iraq's capital Baghdad.

Linda Wenzel fled her house in Pulsnitz, Saxony state when she was 15 years old, after being groomed online. Wenzel, now 17, had reportedly fallen in love with an Isis militant who convinced her to join the group.

Wenzel had told her parents she was spending the night at a friend's, but actually used her mother's money, and forgery of her signature, to purchase a ticket to Istanbul, from where she was then smuggled into Iraq. Wenzel and the man she reportedly loved married in Turkey. He was then killed in an airstrike.

The girl's reunion with her mother and sister was broadcast on German TV channel Das Erste on December 14.

Wenzel, wearing a pink headscarf, is seen hugging her mother and sister and expressing remorse for her choice to travel to Iraq.

Her mother Katharin said: "I trusted her blindly. If only I had not gone to work then I could have prevented it, maybe. A friend sent me a video and I immediately recognised my daughter. It was very bad for me."

While Wenzel was in Iraq, she reportedly sent a text to her family saying that she was still alive and that her mother shouldn't cry for her.

Linda Wenzel
Linda Wenzel (C) is reunited with he rmother (R) and her sister (L) after she was arrested when Iraq tropps liberated Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group. Weltspiegel / Youtube screenshot

Death penalty

Wenzel is thought to have spent her time with ISIS in Mosul until troops recaptured the city earlier this year. Iraqi troops claim she took part in terrorist-related activities and may have killed people, accusations she denies.

Wenzel is being held at a juvenile detention center near Baghdad. She will face trial in the city next month, according to The Telegraph.

Following her capture, she told the German press she regretted her actions and wanted to go home and reunite with her family. However, the Iraqi government, has so far refused to extradite Wenzel.

There are fears that Wenzel could be sentenced to death, should she be tried in Iraq for terrorism-related crimes. However, she would not be executed until the age of 22.

Rights groups have warned that the girl, held in a prison in Baghdad, should be protected by international laws guaranteeing children's rights. As a juvenile, a possible execution for crimes committed as a minor would be in breach of international laws.

However, earlier this year, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed that the girl could be sentenced to death, claiming that teenagers must be held accountable for their crimes.

"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," Abadi told the Associated Press.