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Daesh leader Al-Baghdadi grew extreme after ‘sexual torture’ under US detention in Iraq - his widow claims

June 10, 2024 at 8:42 pm

This July 5, 2014 photo shows an image grab taken from a propaganda video released by al-Furqan Media allegedly showing Daesh leader of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. [AFP via Getty Images]

The widow of the deceased former leader of Daesh has claimed that he was inflicted with “sexual torture” under American custody in a prison in Iraq, which psychologically traumatised him and led him down the path of extremism.

In an interview with BBC News, Umm Hudaifa – the widow of the late Daesh leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a US military operation in October 2019 – stated that her husband had been “religious but not extremist” prior to his detention in the American-run Camp Bucca in Iraq in 2004, when he was reportedly arrested for founding a previous militant group to fight American and allied Western occupation forces in the country.

Saying he was “conservative but open minded”, Umm Hudaifa claimed that it was his year-long detention that turned him into the eventual Daesh leader the world came to know him as. Having developed “psychological problems” following his release, Al-Baghdadi “became short-tempered and given to outbursts of anger”.

When asked about it, he reportedly told her that “he was exposed to something that ‘you cannot understand’”, without going into explicit details, which Umm Hudaifa believed meant he “was subjected to sexual torture”.

Now, almost five years after the killing of Al-Baghdadi and the military and territorial defeat of Daesh, Umm Hudaifa is held in an Iraqi prison in the capital, Baghdad, while being investigated for suspected involvement in crimes such as the sexual enslavement of women and girls kidnapped by the extremist group.

READ: Iraq’s Mosul springs back to life 10 years after it fell to Daesh

One man, Hamid Yazidi, and his daughter, Soad – who was reportedly trafficked by Daesh seven times – have launched a civil case against Umm Hudaifa and are seeking the death penalty, insisting that she was directly and intimately involved in such crimes.

“She was responsible for everything”, BBC News quoted Soad as saying. “She made the selections – this one to serve her, that one to serve her husband … and my sister was one of those girls.”

Denying those accusations, the widow insists that she even attempted to escape Daesh territory but was stopped and sent back by armed fighters at checkpoints. She called the atrocities committed by Daesh throughout its rampage and rule over parts of Syria and Iraq as a “huge shock” and “inhumane”, saying that the group “crossed the line of humanity” and that she “felt ashamed” of the group’s brutality against the Yazidi community.

Umm Hudaifa also claimed to have confronted Al-Baghdadi about the murder of “innocent people” and told him there were other things under Islamic law “that could have been done, like guiding them towards repentance”.