Today, a court in Dublin has ruled that a former Irish soldier, Lisa Smith, has been convicted of membership in the Islamic State (IS) terror group. What seems to have made many question the validity of this case was something Ms. Smith’s lawyers highlighted. The case against her was different and unprecedented; they argued that there was no proof she was a member of the terror group.
In 2011, Smith left the Irish Military after converting to Islam; she would later travel to the Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria when terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on Muslims to travel to the Islamic State.
After her trip to Syria and the conclusion of a previous marriage, Smith then remarried Sajid Aslam, a man born and raised in Britain, who told the court that Smith had insisted he take a snipers class. Of which he did so. Interestingly, Smith’s new husband was the prosecution believed he undertook “border patrol” for the Islamic State.
Smith had two charges: the first was a member of the Islamic State. The second was financing a terrorist organization, over an €800 donation she had claimed was for humanitarian purposes.
The prosecution drew Smith up to have answered the call from al-Baghdadi, and became Isis’ “lifeblood” as a propaganda weapon and a lady who would aid in constructing the Islamic State. Sean Gillane SC, for the prosecution, said Smith “subscribed to the reciprocity of allegiance and protection, and in that sense, she enveloped herself in the standard or black flag of Islamic State.”
The prosecution also accused Smith of moving to Raqqa, Syria, which, at the time, was under the control of the Islamic State. She was then deported from Syria with her two-year-old daughter in 2019 after the fall of the Islamic State. Irish police immediately took Smith into custody upon her landing at Dublin Airport.
After digging vigorously, the prosecution was able to find various social media conversations of Smith’s. During a discussion Smith had about IS’s execution of five men drowning in a cage via social media, the prosecution said that Lisa Smith replied: “OK, now I understand why they were drowned. I didn’t know the other half of the story.”
The defense countered with the argument that there wasn’t any proof that Smith ever wanted to be a part of the group. They said she moved to Syria to be a dutiful wife to her new husband and baby. Mr. Hunt said there was no room for pleas of naivety or ignorance when she traveled to Syria; he told the room that reality struck her.
After deliberating, the Judge found Smith guilty of being a member of the terrorist group simply because she was in Islamic State territory during her time in Syria. The duration of her time served and whether or not she stays in jail are set to be announced on July 11, 2022.