Belfast Telegraph

Irish Isis bride being questioned by gardai 'will get safety advice'

Lisa Smith hides under a blanket
Lisa Smith hides under a blanket

By Ken Foy and Tom Brady

GardaI will offer personal security advice to Isis bride Lisa Smith when they are finished questioning her about terrorist offences.

The 38-year-old Dundalk woman remained at Kevin Street garda station last night and officers are expected to get her period of detention extended by another 24 hours by a district court judge today.

A senior source confirmed Ms Smith "is co-operating with the investigation and is engaging with questions from gardai".

"There is a huge volume of material to put to her as specialist detectives have been investigating this case for many months, but she is talking and answering questions," a senior source said last night. "In particular, she is being questioned about her past relationships with a number of men who are Islamic terrorist suspects."

In an unusual move, on Sunday her family were allowed to have a meal with her in the garda station.

If Ms Smith is released without charge this week pending a decision from the DPP, sources say that she will be offered detailed safety advice by gardai. "She is obviously a very high-profile person and her decision to travel to what was then known as the Islamic State has made her very unpopular with many people in Ireland and this is why it would be important that she be given security advice in relation to her own personal safety," a source said.

Ms Smith, a former member of the Defence Forces, is being questioned about alleged terrorist offences abroad.

It is the first time the main legislation in this instance, the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005, would be used against an Irish person suspected of engaging in terrorist activities overseas.

As well as the criminal investigation, gardai have carried out a security assessment on Ms Smith, as they have done in the case of five other people who have returned from conflict zones, so that they can be satisfied she does not pose a security threat to the Republic.

Detectives are interviewing her under caution about her activities, movements, communications and contacts online and in person in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Ireland since she converted to Islam in 2012.

The investigation carried out by gardai and military intelligence has resulted in a large dossier of information about Ms Smith's contacts online at home and abroad with other Isis sympathisers, as well as her movements when she travelled to Tunisia, Turkey and Syria. Over the past year, she has consistently denied suggestions she was actively involved in terrorist activities.

"We believe that Lisa has a very strong case to make and is making that case," said human rights lawyer Darragh Mackin, speaking to RTE.

Ms Smith was arrested in Dublin Airport on Sunday as she was escorted home from Turkey with her two-year-old daughter who is now being cared for by relatives.

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