Republic of Ireland news

Alleged Islamic State member Lisa Smith refused bail at Dublin court hearing

Lisa Smith, a former member of the Republic's Defence Forces, travelled to Syria three years ago to join Islamic State
By Aoife Moore, PA

An alleged member of so-called Islamic State (IS) has been refused bail at a court hearing in Dublin.

Lisa Smith (38), an Irish citizen and former Irish Defence Forces member, was arrested on Sunday at Dublin Airport on suspicion of terrorist offences after returning from Turkey.

Ms Smith was detained at Kevin Street Garda Station in Dublin before appearing at Dublin District Court, at the Criminal Courts of Justice, yesterday.

She was charged with membership of an unlawful organisation, under 2005 terror legislation, before Mr Justice Colin Daly.

Her lawyer Peter Corrigan told the court Ms Smith had lived most of her life in the Republic, going on to progress her career in the Irish Defence Forces, where she showed exemplary behaviour, and joined the Air Corps in 2006.

"After this, she went through a difficult period of her life, suffered severe depression and was suicidal - to sum up, a very vulnerable young woman," he said.

"She was looking for answers to life and in 2011 she found Islam and became a Muslim, and was radicalised.

"Her case is she is a very, very loyal Muslim, and that she was advised by another person, who in retrospect was preying on her vulnerabilities.

"They told her the Koran advised that if there is a caliphate, it is the obligation of all Muslims, irrespective of sects, if the conditions are satisfied in the Koran, have a duty and obligation to the Islamic State under your religious beliefs.

"Living in an Islamic state does not make you guilty."

Mr Corrigan went on to say that Smith travelled to Syria in 2015, and believed it was her moral religious duty to do so.

He said: "Videos were put out throughout the Muslim world saying that this was the promised land, and all Muslims go to this state, and thousands of people did, elderly and professionals."

Mr Corrigan said Ms Smith, who he claimed had been held at a "horrendous" refugee camp with her young daughter, could have absconded elsewhere when the camp was dissolved but chose to return to Ireland, which he says proves she has no allegiance to the terrorist group.

During her three days of interviews, the court heard Ms Smith "answered every question comprehensively".

Mr Corrigan said: "She condemned IS terrorists, and said this continually in interviews, that they are barbaric, to everyone, including Muslims, that they raped them, and treated them horrendously. Is this the example of someone who is a committed member, who in most strident terms condemned them?"

The court heard there is "no evidence" of Smith training anyone to fight or that she ever held a gun while in Syria.

Mr Corrigan said Ms Smith is keen to get back to her young daughter and is distressed at being apart from the child, who is with her family.

For the prosecution, Garda Sergeant Gareth Kane told the court he could not think of any conditions that he would be comfortable with in which Ms Smith could be bailed, due to the severity of the charges against her.

Mr Kane said in court that during police interviews, Ms Smith admitted being radicalised and pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, and had lived in a house under Islamic State control, according to a witness.

Justice Daly refused bail under the conditions that Ms Smith might be a flight risk, and remanded her to Cloverhill Women's Prison in Dublin.

Her representative requested that she be separated from the general prison population for her own safety.

She will return to court on December 11.

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