Former Irish soldier jailed for 15 months for joining IS in Syria

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A former Irish soldier has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for joining the so-called Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Syria.

Lisa Smith had already been convicted in May of being a member of a banned terrorist organisation between 2015 and 2019.

She appeared at the Special Court in Dublin on Friday wearing a black hijab to hear her sentencing. Judge Tony Hunt said Smith was at low risk of reoffending but had shown no remorse.

She is the first person to be convicted in Ireland for a terrorist act abroad.

The 40-year-old had been a soldier in the Irish Defence Forces between 2001 and 2011, but then left the army and later travelled to Syria in 2015 after converting to Islam.

She had previously expressed her desire on Facebook to live under Sharia law and die as a martyr, the court heard.

Smith was arrested on her return to Ireland in 2019 at Dublin airport, alongside her young daughter.

The former soldier had faced up to eight years in prison but her lawyer argued that she had already been held in camps in Syria and should not face further detention.

Smith was also acquitted of funding a terrorist organisation by sending €800 to a man for “humanitarian purposes”.