Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
A girl who ran off to Syria as a 15-year-old to join the Islamic State has left court with a two-year suspended sentence.
The court in Halle, central Germany, found Leonora Messing – now aged 22 – guilty of membership of a terrorist organisation.
She was also found guilty of possessing a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a pistol with ammunition.
Messing was a schoolgirl when she fled her home in the Breitenbach district of Sangerhausen to join the Islamic State (IS) in Raqqa, Syria, in March 2015.
There she became the third wife of IS secret service agent and fellow German national Martin Lemke, now aged 30 and with whom she had two daughters.
But as the years passed, IS lost much of its former territory and the family ended up surrendering to Kurdish security forces in early 2019.
Messing and her daughters were taken to a Kurdish-controlled prison camp in north-eastern Syria.
In December 2020 she was repatriated to Germany but upon arrival at Frankfurt Airport was taken into custody and later conditionally released.
Prosecutors accused Messing and her husband of buying and enslaving a Yazidi woman in 2015.
But the judges in her trial said this could not be proven and she was cleared of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.
Judge Henning Haberland said of the defendant, who owned a Kalashnikov and a pistol with ammunition: “In addition, she was responsible for violating the Weapons Act and the War Weapons Control Act.”
Haberland believed the defendant was committed to rehabilitation and was trying to integrate her daughters into society. He also noted she had started an apprenticeship.
The trial, which began in January, ended with Messing being handed a two-year suspended sentence, which is not yet legally binding and can be appealed.