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Julia (Twitter)


15-year-old Yazidi girl says ‘big sister’ Kayla Mueller stayed behind to help her escape

September 1, 2016

A 15-year-old Yazidi girl who escaped ISIS has said that Kayla Mueller — the American humanitarian aid worker who was captured by ISIS and killed at age 25 by a Jordanian air strike in February — refused to come with her because it might have compromised the escape attempt. The girl, known by the pseudonym Julia, spoke publicly for the first time of the torture she endured after being enslaved by ISIS at the age of 13. But the reason she chose to speak, she said, was to pay tribute to her friend Kayla Mueller, the humanitarian aid worker with whom she once shared a cell — and a mattress. Julia spoke with ABC’s Brian Ross in Stockholm on “The Girl Left Behind,” a project dedicated to Mueller that aired the ‘proof of life’ video sent by ISIS to Mueller’s family last Friday.

Julia said that she and Mueller, whom she described as a “big sister,” first met in an ISIS prison in northeast Syria. Mueller, Julia said, had been chosen by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to serve as personal slaves. Julia herself had once been chosen by Baghdadi as a slave, but said that he sold her, and beat her until she couldn’t walk, after a failed escape attempt. Mueller, Julia said, was subjected to horrific and repeated rape at the hands of the ISIS leader. “She tried not to cry in front of us, but when she was alone, yes,” Julia said of Mueller. “When she was with us, she wanted to encourage us because of what also happened with us.”

Julia said that when she and another Yazidi girl planned another escape attempt, Mueller refused to go. “She told me, ‘No, because I am American, if I escape with you, they will do everything to find us again,” Julia told Ross. “‘It is better for you to escape alone. I will stay here,'” Julia said Mueller told her.

Read the full story at ABC News.


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