February 9, 2016

Wife of Dead ISIL Leader Charged in Death of Kayla Jean Mueller

The wife of former senior Islamic State leader Abu Sayyaf has been charged for her role in a conspiracy that resulted in the death of American citizen Kayla Jean Mueller in February 2015.

Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar, aka Umm Sayyaf, 25, an Iraqi citizen, is currently in Iraqi custody for her terrorism-related activities. She is charged with charged with conspiracy to provide material support to to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. According to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Umm Sayyaf and her husband forcibly held Mueller along with other captives at their residences.

Mueller, who was serving as an aid worked in Syria when she was abducted in 2013, was killed during airstrikes in Syria last February. Abu Sayyaf was killed during a U.S. military operation last May, and Umm Sayyaf was captured.

Umm Sayyaf admitted to holding Mueller and others hostage on behalf of ISIL, according to the affidavit.

“The FBI continues to work tirelessly alongside our partners to hold accountable those who are responsible for the kidnapping and death of Kayla Mueller,” said Paul M. Abbate, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which investigated the case. “This criminal complaint is another step toward achieving justice in the case.”

If convicted, Sayyaf faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

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