‘IS bride’ Lisa Smith was not a member of a terrorist group, solicitor claims

The solicitor representing a former member of the Irish military who became a so-called Islamic State (IS) bride in Syria has claimed she was not a member of a terrorist organisation.

Darragh Mackin said the current evidence against Lisa Smith is “inherently weak” and does not point to any terrorist offences.

He said that Ms Smith has a “very strong case to make”.

The 38-year-old is being questioned by gardai (Irish police) after she was arrested at Dublin Airport on Sunday following her arrival from Turkey.

She is to face a further 24 hours of questioning after her period of detention was extended on Monday morning.

Mr Mackin, a solicitor at Phoenix Law in Belfast, said the investigation is in its early stages but that Ms Smith is fully co-operating with gardai.

Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland, Mr Mackin said: “We are satisfied that the investigation is progressing at a reasonable speed and we hope to bring matters to a conclusion as quickly as possible.

“One thing is clear, and has been clear from the various interviews that Lisa has given: Lisa has categorically denied any involvement in any terrorist group or organisation.

“For people to publicly remove or disassociate themselves from Isis in itself is unprecedented and unheard of, especially for somebody who’s in the camp at that particular time.

“We are of the view that the evidence at this stage is inherently weak and does not point to any terrorist offences, and we believe Lisa has a very strong case to make and is making that case.”

Ms Smith went to war-torn Syria in 2015 after converting to Islam.

Mr Mackin said that going to the Middle Eastern country is not a terrorist offence.

“Going to a particular location is not the terrorist offence, you must be actively engaged in a terrorist organisation or the terrorist grouping,” he added.

“Lisa has categorically denied being involved in any terrorist offence or terrorist group and at this stage there’s absolutely no evidence that she’s been involved in any organisation or terrorist group.

“We must be clear that the word Islamic State is not necessarily a direct link to Isis, of course there are all those connotations.”

In a previous interview earlier this year, Ms Smith told a journalist that she joined Islamic State but did not fight for them.

“That interview was given at a time when she was detained in a camp,” the solicitor added.

“In the camp it was well-known that those women who spoke out or in any way disassociated themselves from the violent end of Isis were subject to threats, to raping, to torture.”

Asked about allegations that the Co Louth woman helped train young women in Tunisia, he said: “The reality is there has not been one witness statement and not one witness who has come forward and has suggested that took place.

“There are allegations of hearsay without any foundation or basis.”

Ms Smith’s two-year-old daughter is being cared for by her family while she is being questioned by gardai in Dublin.

She was deported from Turkey and landed in Dublin shortly before 10.30am on Sunday.

She was met by counter-terrorism police who have been investigating her activities.

Images of her arrival showed her covered in a pink blanket as she was taken from the aircraft.

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