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The Wrong Kind of Woman: A Timeline of ISIS Killings Due to Gender Expression

IRAQ

This is a timeline of documented incidences of women killed by ISIS because of their gender expression, including defying ISIS ascribed roles, behaviors, dress, and other gender attributes.

MADRE cannot verify the credibility of the executions detailed in this timeline. The incidents are a compilation of executions and killings reported by several independent sources. While MADRE has made every effort to document gender-based killing that ISIS militants have carried out during this timeframe, this timeline should not be considered comprehensive.

2017

March 31 - A woman going by the alias Amal Ibrahim, reported that as a female doctor under ISIS she was forced to run a secret clinic out of her home because ISIS militants forbade women from working. Dr. Ibrahim stated that she held office hours early in the morning or late at night, risking her life to treat others. One community health worker named Safia, a 42 year-old woman from Hawija also described living as a woman under ISIS, stating, “[A]s a woman, I wasn’t allowed to go out on my own. One time I crossed the street – only crossed the street. After that, they arrested my son and flogged him with an electric wire 25 times. For allowing his mother to cross the street. ”[1]

March 13 - Former ISIS female members who had been arrested by the Kurdistan Region security forces admitted that they had committed torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading acts against women and girls who failed to comply with ISIS’s stric dress code.[2]

February 20 - Human Rights Watch reported that six women had been arbitrarily detained and then tortured and raped after they refused to marry ISIS fighters. [3]

2016

December 25 - ISIS stoned a woman to death on charges of adultery. This occured in al-Riyad District in southwestern Kirkuk. The public was encouraged to participate in the stoning.[4]

October 7 - ISIS stoned to death a woman in Mosul under the pretext of adultery when in reality it was reported that she had refused to marry an ISIS fighter.[5]

September 20 - Iraqi News reported that ISIS stoned a woman to death on charges of fornication in al-Jazaeir, east of Mosul.[6]      

August - ISIS militants executed three women by decapitation in Mosul on charge of homosexuality. Witnesses described that the women had previously quarreled with ISIS members on several occasions because they prevented the women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a male family member. Prior to the execution, ISIS had arrested the women for disobeying orders and detained them for three days.[7]

July 18 - ISIS shot and killed 12 women who participated in a protest against the organization in Mosul.[8]

June 12 - ISIS militants executed two women by gunshots to the head after arresting them in Alserjakhanh. ISIS militants had allegedly discovered messages, photos, and conversations on the women’s cellphones which they claimed were proof that the women were homosexuals. At their execution, ISIS militants announced that the pair were “abominations.”[9]

June 9 - During Ramadan, ISIS stoned a woman to death on charges of adultery in al-Tahrir neighborhood of eastern Mosul. The public was encouraged to participate in the stoning.[10]

June 6 - In Mosul, ISIS publicly executed 19 Yezidi women by burning them alive. According to ARA, the Kurdish News Agency, the women were burned because they refused to have sex with ISIS fighters.[11] 

May 14 - ISIS stoned a woman to death in al-Tahrir neighborhood of eastern Mosul on alleged charges of adultery.[12]

April 20 - A Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official from Mosul said that ISIS has executed at least 250 women in Mosul for refusing sexual slavery. The women had been ordered to accept “temporary marriages” to fighters and were all put to death after their refusal.[13]

March 8 - ISIS killed six women in the south of Mosul, four of whom were Yezidi who had tried escaping the previous day.[14]

February 12 - ISIS executed four women in the city of Mosul, under the accusation of committing adultery. A self-appointed shari’a court issued a decision to publicly execute the women. There was no mention of the men involved in the alleged adultery.[15]

January 16 - ISIS executed three women in Mosul. After interrogations, ISIS accused them of having leaked security information to the western coalition and its allies in Iraq; a self-appointed court then charged them with spying for the US-led coalition.[16]

 

2015

September 25 - ISIS shot and killed two female lawyers at al-Izza military base in Qayarra subdistrict, Mosul. It is alleged that the women were killed for violating ISIS’s shari’a regulations concerning practicing law in the criminal court.[17]

September 16 - Seven women from the all-female al-Khansa’a Brigade were killed by ISIS for “disobeying orders.” After the victims were shot, their bodies were left in central Mosul at the entrance of the Brigade’s headquarters to serve as an example of for others who might go against their organization.[18]

September 14 - ISIS shot and killed a former candidate for the Coalition List after having abducted the victim from her home in Mosul about two months earlier; it is unclear where she was previously held.[19]

August 21 - ISIS executed 12 former IHEC employees who had been abducted from their homes three weeks; the victims included a senior member of the electoral station in Mosul and four women.[20]

August 18 - In Mosul, ISIS killed three former parliamentary candidates from the Mutahidoun Alliance. Abducted from their homes in Mosul on 12 August, the women were taken to the al-Ghizlani military base where they were then shot in the head.[21]

August 8 - ISIS executed 50 female employees of the IHEC in Mosul. According to UNAMI’s sources, the women were part of a group of 300 civil servants executed by a firing squad at al-Ghizlani military base.[22]

August 3 - ISIS executed 19 women for refusing to have sex with ISIS fighters. The executions took place on August 1st and 2nd in Mosul. According to UNAMI sources, an official of the Kurdish Democratic Party reported that “ISIS fighters had been rewarded by ISIS leadership with the widows of executed men to motivate them to continue fighting.”[23]

July 25 - ISIS executed 11 female employees of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) in Iraq. The women were killed alongside17 men, all of whom were part of the 53 member group of IHEC employees kidnapped on July 24 by ISIS fighters in Mosul.[24]

July 5 - ISIS fighters executed  a female journalist after a self-appointed court sentenced her to death on charges of cooperating with the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The 28-year-old woman was shot and killed in the al-Dakki region, western Mosul, after being abducted from her home in al-Akha on June 30, 2015.[25]

March 13 - ISIS executed nine widows of the Turkmen Shi’a community in the Qara Quean village, Ninewa, for refusing to marry ISIS fighters. ISIS had previously killed the women’s husbands.[26]

February 10 - ISIS kidnaped and killed a female City Council employee. The woman was abducted from her house in al-Baladiyat and executed two days after at the Ninewa Provincial Building in Mosul.[27] Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) warned about ISIS’s pattern of killing female professionals, noting that “[E]ducated, professional women, particularly women who had run as candidates in elections for public office seem to be particularly at risk. In just the first two weeks of the year, reports indicated that three female lawyers were executed.”[28]

January 16 - A 23-year-old woman was stoned to death after being accused of adultery by an ISIS self-appointed court in the Ghabat area of northern Mosul.[29]

January 6 - ISIS executed three female lawyers in Ninewa, central Mosul, without announcing the charges.[30]

2014

December 20 - ISIS fighters executed five female members of the Yazidi community in the al-Ghizlani camp, south of Mosul. ISIS’s self-appointed court sentenced the women to death. According to UNAMI sources, the women were killed due to refusing to convert to Islam and had tried to escape ISIS imprisonment.[31]

December 17 - The Iraqi Human Rights Ministry released a statement proclaiming that an ISIS fighter known as Abu Anas Al-Libi had killed more than 150 women in Fallujah, Al Anbar Province, for refusing to accept ‘jihad marriage’ (Jihad el-Nikah). After the execution, the bodies of the women were buried in mass graves.[32]

November 23 - ISIS publicly executed two former female parliamentary candidates in Mosul following death sentences from a self-appointed court. One victim had been detained at an ISIS checkpoint while travelling to Kirkuk and the other was taken from her home. One of the victims, Ms. Ibtisam Ali Jarjis, was a candidate for the Watanya list, and the other, Ms. Miran Ghazi was a candidate for the Arab List in the Parliamentary elections of April 2014. [33]

October 8 - ISIS militants executed eight women, shooting them in central Mosul; it is unclear for what reason. These women included Dr. Maha Sabhan, a surgeon, Dr. Lamia Ismail and six other women who were housewives.[34]

October 6 - ISIS fighters executed Iman Mohammed Younis al-Salman, a former Turkmen parliamentarian in the province of Ninevah. It was more than a month after she was abducted from her home in the district of Tal Afar. Salman was the first woman to enter the parliament for the district of Tal Afar and became a member of the House of Representatives in 2004. She was also the first woman to lead a civil society organization (Al-Malak organization) and the first female journalist.[35]

October 1 - ISIS publicly executed the Deputy Attorney General of Mosul Court of Appeal by shooting her in the head, after an ISIS self-appointed court sentenced her to death.[36]

September 22 - ISIS publicly executed Sameera Salih Ali Al-Nuaimy, a well-known lawyer and human rights activist, outside of the former governorate building in the Dawasa area of Mosul. A self-appointed court accused the lawyer of apostasy because she had denounced the bombing of the Shrine of the Prophet Younis, in addition to some mosques and historical shrines. In a posting on her Facebook page on September 15, 2014, she described as "barbaric bombing and destroying of mosques and shrines in Mosul." Ms. Al-Nuaimy was seized from her home by ISIS fighters on 17 September. Her body, which witnesses alleged bore signs of torture, was handed over to her family for burial by ISIS, who prohibited the family from holding a funeral for her.[37]

September 5 - ISIS executed three Sunni women in Mosul. Allegedly, they were executed after a self-appointed court sentenced them to death for refusing to treat ISIS fighters. [38]

August 13 - Upon leaving her home in the Tayaran area, south Mosul, ISIS fighters attacked and killed Dr. Ghada Shafiq, a female gynecologist who worked at Mosul’s General Hospital.[39] Colleagues believe that she was targeted due to an open letter she allegedly wrote advocating for a strike of a female doctors initiated a few days prior on 11 August 2014.[40]  In the letter, Dr. Shafiq explained that female doctors had continued to treat patients in Mosul despite not receiving their salaries for weeks while the city was under siege. Nevertheless, she noted, ISIS “imposed the niqab on female doctors in hospitals, with fighters at hospital entrances in order to stop any female doctors coming or going unless they’re wearing the niqab and gloves.”[41] She further stated that when women doctors had tried to explain to ISIS fighters that they were unable to do their jobs and treat patients under this dress code, the fighters verbally abused the doctors and threatened them. Importantly, in her letter, Dr. Shafiq warned her fellow female doctors against adhering to ISIS’s decisions, arguing that compliance could lead to future edicts that sanction atrocious violations against women such as genital mutilation and forced marriages to fighters.[42]

July 23 - ISIS fighters broke into the house of a female candidate in the election for the Ninewa Provincial Council, killing her and then abducting her husband. On the same day, ISIS abducted another female candidate in the last general election from her house in the Sumer area of eastern Mosul.[43]

July 22 - ISIS fighters killed a female candidate in the general election affiliated with the State of Law list after storming her house in Sderat village in Qayara sub-district in Ninewa.[44]


Footnotes

[1] Shafagh News (March 31, 2017) The doctor who ran a secret clinic under Isis: 'I try to put hope in their hearts.' Available at http://www.shafaaq.com/en/En_NewsReader/d20b215e-ea4d-4a2c-b2e5-433c4524...

[2] Baxtiyar Goran, “Female IS members share their stories of lashing and nursing,” Kurdistan24. March 13 2017. Web. http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/3a3c6133-8ae6-4e6d-9f17-5b2d1e265767/...

[3] Human Rights Watch (2017, February 20) Iraq: Sunni Women Tell of ISIS Detention, Torture. Available at https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/02/20/iraq-sunni-women-tell-isis-detention...

[4] ARA News (2016, December 26) ISIS jihadists stone woman to death on charges of ‘committing adultery.’ Available at: http://aranews.net/2016/12/isis-jihadists-stone-woman-to-death-on-charge...

[5] Yousef, R. (2016, October 8) Iraqi women stoned to death for refusing to marry ISIS jihadist. ARA News. Available at: http://aranews.net/2016/10/iraqi-woman-stoned-death-refusing-marry-isis-...

[6] Iraqi News (2016, September 20) ISIS stones woman to death for fornication. Available at: http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/isis-stones-woman-to-death-for-fornica...

[7] On file with MADRE.

[8] Asharq Al-Awsat (2016, July 19) In Mosul, 12 women who stood against ISIS executed. Available at: http://english.aawsat.com/2016/07/article55354736/mosul-12-women-protest...

[9] On file with MADRE.

[10] Yousef, S. (2016, June 10) ISIS jihadis stone woman to death on charges of adultery. ARA News. Available at: http://aranews.net/2016/06/isis-jihadis-stone-woman-death-charges-adultery/

[11] Osborne, S. (2016, June 6) ISIS burns 19 Yazidi women to death in Mosul for ‘refusing to have sex with fighters.’ Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-burn-19-yazidi-...

[12] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2016) Report on Human Rights in Iraq, January to June 2016, p. 12.

[13] AhlulBayt News Agency (2016, 19 April) ISIS Executes 250 Women in Mosul for Refusing Sex Slavery. Available at: http://en.abna24.com/service/middle-east-west-asia/archive/2016/04/19/74... ; Sonawane, V. (2016, April 21) ISIS Executes At Least 250 Women For Refusing ‘Temporary Marriage’ In Iraq’s Mosul. International Business Times. Available at: http://www.ibtimes.com/isis-executes-least-250-women-refusing-temporary-... ; Nagesh, A.Isis murder 250 girls who refused to become their sex slaves, Metro, April 21, 2016. See http://metro.co.uk/2016/04/21/isis-murder-250-girls-who-refused-to-becom...

[14] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2016) Report on Human Rights in Iraq, January to June 2016, p.12.

[15] ARA News (2016, February 16) ISIS extremists stone four women to death on charges of ‘committing adultery.’ Available at: http://aranews.net/2016/02/18246/ ; United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2016) Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Iraq: 1 November 2015 - 30 September 2016, p. 11.

[16] ARA News (2016, January 17) ISIS jihadis burn three Iraqi women to death on charges of spying for ‘crusader coalition.’ Available at: http://aranews.net/2016/01/isis-jihadis-burn-three-iraqi-women-to-death-...

[17] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2015) Report on the Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq: 1 May-31 October 2015, p. 10.

[18] Masters, S. (2015, September 16) Isis in Iraq: Terror group's fighters publicly murdered for disloyalty as 'warning' to potential deserters, spies and enemies. Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-in-iraq-terror-...

[19] Ibid., p. 8.

[20] Ibid., p. 9.

[21] Ibid, p. 8.

[22] Ibid., p. 9

[23] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2015) Report on the Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq: 1 May-31 October 2015, p. 18.

[24] Masters, S. (2015, September 16) Isis in Iraq: Terror group's fighters publicly murdered for disloyalty as 'warning' to potential deserters, spies and enemies. Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-in-iraq-terror-...

[25] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2015) Report on the Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq: 1 May-31 October 2015, p. 11.

[26] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2015), Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Iraq, p.12, December 11,2014 to April 30, 2015,  p. 22.

[27] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2015) Report on the Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq: 11 December 2014 – 30 April 2015, p.11.

[28] Office of the High Commission on Human Rights (2015, January 20) Press briefing notes on ISIL/Iraq and Death penalty in SE Asia. Available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15495&L... ; Rudaw (2015, January 21) UN: ISIS sharia courts meting out ‘cruel and inhuman’ punishments. Available at: http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/200120151

[29] Office of the High Commission on Human Rights (2015, January 20) Press briefing notes on ISIL/Iraq and Death penalty in SE Asia. Available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15495&L...

[30] Ibid., p. 11.

[31] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2015) Report on the Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq: 11 December 2014 – 30 April 2015, p.13.

[32] Al Arabiya News (2014, December 17) ISIS kills more than 150 women, girls for refusing ‘Jihad marriage.’ Available at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/12/17/ISIS-fighter... ; Saul, H. (2014, December 17) Isis 'executes scores of women for refusing to marry militants', Iraq ministry claims. Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-execute-150-wom...

[33] Rudaw (2014, November 25) ISIS executes female parliamentary candidates in Mosul. Available at: http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/251120141  

[34] Ibid.

[35] Al-Monitor (2014, October 10) Iraqi Women Targeted by Execution by IS. Available at:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2014/10/islamic-state-execution...

[36] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2014) Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Iraq: 11 September-10 December 2014, p. 10.

[37] United Nations Iraq (2014, September 26) UNAMI, UN Human Rights Chief Zeid condemns ISIL killings of women politicians and activists in Iraq. Available at: http://www.uniraq.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2681:un-human...

[38] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2014) Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Iraq: 6 July-10 September 2014, p. 6.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Shamdeen, N. (2014, August 21) Veils, Gloves and Violence: New Extremist Rules See Women Disappear from Mosul’s Streets. Niqash. Available at: http://www.niqash.org/en/articles/society/3521/

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office and Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2014) Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Iraq: 6 July-10 September 2014, p.10.