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Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

FILE - This undated handout file photo obtained Feb. 6, 2015, courtesy of the Mueller family and the office of U.S. Senator John McCain shows 26-year-old Kayla Jean Mueller.

The U.S. Justice Department has charged the wife of a now-deceased Islamic State leader for her alleged role in last year's death of American aid worker Kayla Mueller.

Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar and her husband, Abu Sayyaf, are accused of holding Mueller and other women captive in their home. U.S. officials say Mueller was subjected to repeated sexual abuse by IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during her captivity.

Mueller was killed in February 2015.

Bahar, also known as Umm Sayyaf, "knew how Mueller was treated by Baghdadi when Mueller was held against her will in Sayyaf's home,'' federal prosecutors said Monday.

Abu Sayyaf was killed in a Delta Force commando raid of his Syrian compound in June, and his wife was turned over to Iraqi authorities for prosecution.

Umm Sayyaf allegedly admitted to FBI agents last summer that she was chiefly responsible for Mueller and other hostages while her husband traveled. On those occasions, she acknowledged hosting Islamic State members and al-Baghdadi at her home.

Sayyaf told interrogators that al-Baghdadi "owned" Mueller during her captivity at the Sayyaf residence, and acknowledged that "owning" is equivalent to slavery.

The Justice Department said it plans to "pursue justice for Kayla and for all American victims of terrorism."

If convicted, Sayyaf faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.