BERLIN — A top federal appeals court has upheld the terrorism conviction of the wife of a German-born rapper who joined the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and likely died in an airstrike, authorities said Monday.
In a decision from March 9, the Federal Court of Justice upheld the conviction of the woman, Omaima A., for membership in a terrorist organization as well as charges of failing to properly care for her children, weapons offenses and aiding in the enslavement of a Yazidi girl.
In its decision, the Karlsruhe-based court said it had found no legal errors were made by the Hamburg state court in its October conviction of the woman, who was 36 at the time. She was given a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
The Hamburg-born woman of Tunisian heritage, whose last name wasn’t provided in line with German privacy laws, followed her first husband to Syria in 2015 and lived in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa with their three children, according to the court.
After her husband was killed during fighting in 2015, she married his friend, German rapper Denis Cuspert, who went by the stage name Deso Dogg before giving up performing and joining IS himself.
The court found she used social media and email to promote life in the “caliphate’” and encouraged other women from Germany to move to the territory that had been captured by the Islamic State.
In addition to weapons training, she raised her children according to Islamic State ideology and subjected them to danger by keeping them in an area targeted by airstrikes, the court said.
She also took a 13-year-old Yazidi girl as her “slave” and used her to do housework.
Her second husband, Cuspert, who toured in the U.S. in 2006, lent his voice to record anthems for the militants to use in recruiting videos they circulated online.
The U.S. government designated him a “global terrorist” and the Pentagon initially said in 2015 that Cuspert was killed in an airstrike, but withdrew the claim the following year.
In 2018, the Islamic State group announced the Cuspert had been killed in an airstrike in Syria, and the German court said he was now “most likely dead.”
By the time Cuspert’s death was announced, Omaima A. had long returned to Germany, arriving back in September 2016 days before giving birth to a fourth child, a daughter.
She was arrested as part of Germany’s efforts to prosecute of both men and women who have returned after fighting with the Islamic State group or other extremist groups in the Middle East.