Former Ir­ish sol­dier who joined ISIS is repa­tri­ated

▶ Lisa Smith’s tod­dler daugh­ter, who was born in Syria, has Ir­ish cit­i­zen­ship and is be­ing cared for by rel­a­tives

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD - THE NA­TIONAL

A former mem­ber of the Ir­ish mil­i­tary who joined ISIS in Syria ar­rived home yes­ter­day af­ter be­ing de­ported by Tur­key.

Lisa Smith, 38, and her twoyear-old daugh­ter, who was born in Syria but is also an Ir­ish cit­i­zen, were re­turned to Dublin af­ter Ankara said it had cap­tured 287 ISIS sus­pects who es­caped from Kur­dish de­ten­tion dur­ing their of­fen­sive in Syria.

Ankara has be­gun de­port­ing for­eign na­tions linked to ISIS, and Tur­key iden­ti­fied Ms Smith among those who es­caped de­ten­tion dur­ing the fight­ing.

Ms Smith trav­elled to Syria to join ISIS in 2015. Yes­ter­day, she was in­ter­viewed by po­lice on ar­rival in Ire­land and ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of ter­ror­ist of­fences.

Po­lice said Ms Smith’s daugh­ter was be­ing cared for by rel­a­tives, Ir­ish state broad­caster RTE re­ported.

RTE said that Ms Smith and her daugh­ter were taken to the back of the plane as it touched down in Dublin and dis­em­barked un­der blan­kets from the back steps, sep­a­rately from other pas­sen­gers on board.

The pair were then taken from the gate in an un­marked po­lice ve­hi­cle.

They were ac­com­pa­nied on the flight by three con­sular of­fi­cials, mem­bers of the Army Ranger Wing of the Ir­ish De­fence Forces and a Turk­ish se­cu­rity of­fi­cial, RTE said.

Be­fore she ar­rived in Dublin, Taoiseach (Prime Min­is­ter) Leo Varad­kar said Ms Smith’s daugh­ter would be looked af­ter. “Ob­vi­ously when it comes to her daugh­ter, she’s a child and she will be pro­tected,” he said. “In re­la­tion to Lisa Smith, the Gar­dai [Ir­ish po­lice] are go­ing to want to speak to her – they may be in a po­si­tion to charge her and if they do, a pros­e­cu­tion may fol­low.”

Dublin has said for months it has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to bring Ms Smith back to Ire­land af­ter she be­came aligned to the mil­i­tant group in Syria, and that its main con­cern was for the safe repa­tri­a­tion of her daugh­ter.

She has said in in­ter­views that she wished to re­turn home.

Be­tween 2000 and 2011, Ms Smith, from Dun­dalk in County Louth, served in the Ir­ish army be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to the air force, where she worked on the gov­ern­ment jet.

Mr Varad­kar had pre­vi­ously said that a se­cu­rity as­sess­ment would need to be car­ried out to en­sure that she “does not be­come a threat to life and limb in Ire­land”.

Her re­turn came a day af­ter ISIS claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity af­ter a man killed two mem­bers of the pub­lic on Lon­don Bridge in an in­ci­dent po­lice said was a ter­ror­ist at­tack.

Tur­key has ac­cused its Euro­pean al­lies of be­ing too slow to take back cit­i­zens who trav­elled to the Mid­dle East to join ISIS. Mean­while, Euro­pean coun­tries are try­ing to speed up a plan to move thou­sands of mil­i­tants out of Syr­ian pris­ons and into Iraq.

So far, Tur­key has repa­tri­ated 10 Ger­man na­tion­als, one US cit­i­zen and one Bri­tish sus­pected fighter. Eleven de­tainees from France will be repa­tri­ated early this month, the Turk­ish In­te­rior Min­is­ter Su­ley­man Soylu said on Thurs­day.

Most Euro­pean states have said ISIS sus­pects should be tried in the coun­try where their crimes were com­mit­ted. But ex­perts ex­press con­cern about achiev­ing con­vic­tions in Euro­pean states be­cause of a lack of suit­able laws and the patchy na­ture of ev­i­dence gath­ered from the bat­tle­fields.

Even if con­vic­tions are se­cured for former ISIS mem­bers and sup­port­ers, ex­perts also say sen­tences may be short, again be­cause of the na­ture of the ex­ist­ing Euro­pean laws sur­round­ing join­ing for­eign ter­ror­ist groups.

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