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22-year-old female student risked life to free ISIS child sex slaves

Health

From child sex slaves to sickening executions, Joanna Palani witnessed all the horrors of war - but she regrets nothing

A female politics student left home and took up arms with the aim of freeing child sex slaves by killing their Islamic State captors.

Joanna Palani, 22, from Copenhagen, was so sickened by ISIS that she decided to become Kurdish fighter - despite not knowing how to fire a gun.

At first she travelled from Denmark to Iraq, before moving on to Rojova in Syria.

After witnessing all the horrors of war, from child sex slaves to sickening executions, she eventually returned home.

In an interview with Mirror Online, Ms Palani refused to say how many terrorists she killed.

But she said: "If a woman can be killed for nothing, she can also fight for everything. A free society can never be free without the liberation of the females."

Ms Palani has previously told of the horrors she has seen firsthand, and the suffering endured by child sex slaves at the hands of terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

"Even though I am a fighter it is difficult for me to read about how a ten-year-old girl is going to die because she is bleeding from a rape," she told Vice.

Her most harrowing moment came when she was deployed to fight in a village near ISIS-controlled Mosul in Iraq.

While there, she found an ISIS-controlled building being used to imprison young girls for sexual abuse.

"All the girls were under 16 - some were really young. I met this girl in the hospital we had to bring them to.

"She was a Syrian Christian and she died holding my hand because she was 11-year-old and she was pregnant with twins. Her little face was so swollen. It just wasn't right. I remember the doctor crying and yelling at me and my first soldier."

She eventually returned home, but she struggled to see the world in the same way.She said: "The first thing I did when arrived in Denmark was to buy a hot dog and a beer and be thankful for being there.

"Nothing seemed changed but somehow it felt like it had."

Her decision to go and fight ISIS was driven by her conscience - seeing the suffering that the victims of ISIS were having to endure on TV - despite knowing all the risks.

She said: "I was aware that I could lose my life but my life is not more important than theirs because I live in one of the world's best countries.

"I could not continue to see and hear innocents die. My conscience choked me before I left home. I knew what was right and wrong.

"Therefore I also felt an obligation to act outside what I knew was right.

"I knew even then that ISIS would attack in the European Union. I chose to rather take them there than they take us here."

And, after initially warning her not to go, her family even eventually came to peace with her decision.

"When I got home, they were very happy," she said.

"I had no contact with them for several months while I was in Syria and Rojava.

"But my father is a Peshmerga, and my grandfather, so I think they understand me."

Knowing the sickening human rights abuses that ISIS terrorists are carrying out - especially against women - Ms Palani believes she had a responsibility as a woman to take the fight to ISIS militants.

The brave fighter is still readjusting to life back home, and says that authorities have stripped her of her passport and right to work as a result of her decision to flee to fight terrorists.

"I can't get a job," she says.

"[The government] say I'm a threat to the Danish state. It makes me so sad that those I was willing to give my life for betrayed me."

Joanna is now back studying politics and philosophy in Copenhagen.

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