U.S. officials feared they didn’t have enough evidence to build a case against ISIS prisoner but she may be executed

The Daily Beast reports: Umm Sayyaf, a key player in the abduction and enslavement of young women and girls by the so-called Islamic State, will stand trial for her alleged crimes. But probably not for her role in the imprisonment and rape of young American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who died while in the hands of ISIS earlier this year. Nor will Umm Sayyaf, the wife of a top ISIS figure killed in a U.S. raid last May, be held to account in an American courtroom.

U.S. officials told The Daily Beast in several interviews that the decision about how to deal with Umm Sayyaf, the most senior ISIS prisoner in American custody, was the result of both legal and pragmatic considerations. They conceded that while, in the end, there will be justice — perhaps very severe justice — for Mueller, it might not take the shape some had expected or hoped.

Indeed, the handling of the case is highly unusual and poses significant questions about how future ISIS fighters captured overseas will be dealt with by U.S. authorities.

Umm Sayyaf, who is an Iraqi citizen, was captured by U.S. forces in Syria. She was interrogated in Iraq by an American unit that operates outside the traditional criminal justice system. But the decision on where to try her was based largely in deference to Iraqi law. And she will now be turned over not to the government of Iraq in Baghdad, but Iraq’s Kurdish regional government in Erbil, which is expected to “throw the book” at her, and perhaps do much more than that. [Continue reading…]

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