Lisa Smith ‘told the gardai she believed that if she didn’t travel to join the caliphate, she would burn forever in hell’

LISA Smith, an Irish military veteran who turned down Islamic State membership, told gardai she believes if she hadn’t set off to join the caliphate in 2015, she would have been burned forever in the land. prison, the Special Criminal Court heard.

She said she made a “mistake” in going but believed at the time that “it was just a state” where she would be able to raise a family among other Muslims.

Lisa Smith outside court earlier this week


Lisa Smith outside court earlier this weekCredit: PA

She said that since fleeing Syria in 2019, she has known that there are no religious obligations to her.

She said she wouldn’t go again if another caliphate was announced, adding: “I’ve had enough, I’ve done my time. It’s a prison. It’s four years in prison, that’s it. the way we see it now.”

She said she was trapped because women who tried to leave were tortured and raped and that those who escaped would be captured by the Syrian army or would not be able to return to Europe, where they are no longer available. wanted again.

Lady Smith She said she never owned a weapon while in Syria, was never a member of a terrorist organization and did not assist any terrorist organization.

She added: “I do not support terrorism, nor do I support brutality of any kind. I want to be clear, I do not join a terrorist organization and never will. a terrorist organization. I don’t support brutality. What they did in the end; I would never support that in any way or form.”

Before setting off for Syria, she said she was so afraid of being burned in hell that if she saw fire, she would start screaming.

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She added: “I was so scared of hellfire at the time. It scared me so much that I said; I have to go, I have to go.”

Miss Smith, 39 years old, from Dundalk, Co Louth pleaded not guilty to being a member of an illegal terrorist group, the Islamic State, between October 28, 2015 and December 1, 2019.

She has also pleaded not guilty to financing terrorism by sending €800 in support, via Western Union money transfer, to a named man on 6 May 2015.

Det Gda Ciaran McGeough told prosecuting attorney Sean Gillane SC that he interviewed Ms Smith at Kevin Street Garda station 11 times in the days following her arrest on her return to Ireland on 1 December 2019.

He said Miss Smith told him that people who had traveled to Syria and Iraqis who joined the caliphate thought they were escaping to a place where they wouldn’t be humiliated in the streets, but they became angry and annoyed with the “nightmare” they found there.


She said they ran to the caliphate without thinking and without waiting to find out if the new Islamic state would become stable. She said she was happy to be home.

Ms Smith also told gardai that she was duped by journalist Norma Costello, who interviewed Ms Smith while she was in a camp in Syria. Ms. Smith said she thought Ms Costello was from the Irish government and would help her return home.

She said that she would not speak to a journalist because in the camp there were people who would punish anyone who spoke to a journalist.

“They’ll burn your shack with your kids in it or chop you up to kill you,” she said.

She said she didn’t think what she told Ms Costello would end up on the internet, adding: “She made things worse for me.”

The trial continued in the presence of Mr. Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Cormac Dunne. Lisa Smith ‘told the gardai she believed that if she didn’t travel to join the caliphate, she would burn forever in hell’

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