Former Irish soldier was prepared to die for Islamic State, court hears

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

A former Irish soldier accused of joining Islamic State was prepared to die a martyr, a court in Dublin has heard.

Lisa Smith, 39, from Dundalk, County Louth, has pleaded not guilty to being a member of the terrorist organisation between October 2015 and December 2019.

Opening the case on Tuesday in the special criminal court, the prosecutor, Sean Gillane, said the former Irish Defence Forces soldier had “enveloped” herself in the “black flag of Islamic State” and had “tried to access Islamic State-controlled territory and sought out the means in which this could be done”.

The court was told she had gone to the self-declared IS caliphate in 2015, where she married and had a child.

Gillane said she then fled with the group as it lost territory before eventually ending up in a refugee camp, from where she was repatriated and subsequently arrested on arrival in Ireland.

The prosecutor said the case against Smith was not about religion, and that she was not accused of using arms during her time in Syria.

He said that membership of the organisation could be adduced by her association, state of mind and allegiance to the IS leadership.

The court was told Smith had converted to Islam in 2011 and left the Irish forces after being refused permission to wear a hijab.

Gillane said she became an administrator on an online group called We hear, we obey, which hosted online discussions about jihad and women’s obligations. The court was told she lied to her family about her trip to Raqqa in Syria.

The case is expected to continue for 12 weeks. Smith has also pleaded not guilty to financing IS by sending €800 by Western Union money transfer to a named person in 2015.