Lebanon News

ISIS leader Baghdadi’s ex-wife in Lebanon custody says ready to talk

File-Lebanese soldiers stand guard in front of the Military Court in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The ex-wife of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been in Lebanese custody for nearly a year, has expressed readiness to cooperate with authorities over the country's security problems, Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Tuesday.

"Let them tell me how I can help them in terms of security and in the case of the abducted [Lebanese] servicemen, and I am ready to cooperate," the lawyer of Iraqi national Saja Hamid al-Dulaimi quoted her as saying, according to the report.

Twenty-five Lebanese servicemen have been held captive by extremist groups ISIS and the Nusra Front in the country's northeast for more than a year. Dulaimi has been seen as a potential bargaining chip in negotiations for their release.

Dulaimi will begin her trial Wednesday before the Military Tribunal on charges of belonging to an armed terrorist organization with the intent of carrying out a terrorist attack.

Her last trial session in July was adjourned because she had no attorney.

After meeting with Dulaimi at Baabda's Women Prison, her lawyer Hanna Geagea described the defendant as "decent, ill-fated, open-minded, intellectual and [who] rejects extremism."

The lawyer said that Dulaimi's case file is "empty," and expressed wonder over why she was arrested in the first place. "She's not as hefty a catch as we think," Geagea said.

He added that the mother of four only cares about protecting her children, who reside with her in the same cell.

Dulaimi reportedly received pledges from the court to transfer her children to a child-care institution, however, a source told the newspaper that security reasons and the rejection of institutions to welcome the children compelled them to stay with their mother in prison.

Dulaimi and her Palestinian husband, Kamal Khalaf, were arrested in December 2014 along with her daughter Hajar, who was fathered by Baghdadi.

She was detained in north Lebanon after she was found to be carrying a fake passport, according to officials.

The defendant has four children: twins Ousama and Omar, 9; Hajar, 7; and four-month-old Youssef.

Dulaimi delivered Youssef while in custody.

She was reportedly wedded to Iraqi national Fallah Ismail al-Jassem, who is the leader of the so-called Jaish al-Rashideen (Army of the Guides), in 2010 in Iraq's Anbar province. Jassem is the father of Ousama and Omar.

She later married Baghdadi for two months before getting a divorce and discovering she was pregnant with Hajar.

She then married Khalaf, who is the father of Youssef.

Baghdadi is only known to have appeared in public once, in a video showing him delivering a Friday sermon in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in July 2014, shortly after it was captured by his group.

 

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