Irish court finds ex-soldier guilty of ISIL membership | ISIL/ISIS News

Former Irish soldier Lisa Smith was found guilty of joining an armed group in Syria between 2015 and 2019.

Three judges at Dublin Special Crown Court find ex-soldier Lisa Smith guilty of joining ISIL (Islamic State) militant group in Syria.

Smith, 40, was weeping in the dock on Monday as Judge Tony Hunter read out the panel’s ruling on Monday after a nine-week trial.

Wearing a hijab in court, the Muslim convert pleaded not guilty to joining an armed group between October 28, 2015 and December 1, 2019.

Justice Hunt said prosecutors had established beyond doubt that she travelled to Syria “with her eyes open” and swore allegiance to the group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

She provided 800 euros ($900) in medical aid to a Syrian man in Turkey and was acquitted on another charge of “financing terrorism”.

Hunter said there was reason to suspect that she intended the money to be used for humanitarian purposes, not to finance “terrorism”. He granted her bail until a sentencing hearing on July 11.

Directions to Raqqa

During the trial, which began in January, prosecutors detailed how Smith, who was a member of the Irish Defence Force from 2001 to 2011, traveled to ISIL-controlled territory in 2015 after converting to Islam.

In 2012, she made a pilgrimage to Mecca and expressed her desire to live under Islamic law and die as a “martyr” on her Islamic Facebook page.

The court was told she bought a one-way ticket from Dublin to Turkey, crossed the border into Syria, and lived in Raqqa.

At the time, ISIL ruled large swathes of Syria and Iraq, attracting thousands of foreign fighters to their cause before the group was defeated in territorial battles in the region.

After failing to persuade her husband to join her, Smith divorced him in 2016 and married a British national involved in the group’s armed patrols.

Return to Ireland

As ISIL was captured on the battlefield by the US-led coalition and towns under its control fell, Smith was forced to flee Raqqa, then Baghouz, their last stronghold, before returning to Ireland.

She was arrested on December 1, 2019, when she arrived at Dublin Airport with her young daughter.

Defense attorneys argued that Smith’s presence inside ISIL did not make her a de facto member of the group.

They said it could only be argued “for now” that she provided some kind of help to the group because she kept a home for her husband.

Three judges serve without a jury in a special criminal court that hears cases involving “terrorism” and organised crime.

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