The 30-year-old accused woman was an active participant and contributor to the terrorist organization ISIS, the court believes. The sentence of three and a half years in prison was appealed on the spot.
“By traveling to an ISIS-controlled area in Syria and moving in with her husbands, where she looked after children and did various tasks at home, the accused facilitated their active participation in combat actions for ISIS,” district court Judge Ingemar Nestor Nilsen said while reading out the verdict against the 30-year-old woman.
“The accused has made an active and qualified contribution to the maintenance of a terrorist organization, and her actions are clearly covered by the concept of a participant in the penal code,” he concluded.
The woman, who has been charged with participating in the extremist group ISIS for six years, stood with her head bowed when the judge read out the verdict in Oslo District Court on Tuesday afternoon. She was found guilty of participating in ISIS from the spring of 2013 to early 2019 – in full accordance with the indictment and the prosecutor’s allegations.
The verdict is the first of its kind in Norwegian legal history. Never before has a woman been charged with terrorist involvement because she cared for her home and looked after the children while her husbands were out fighting for IS in Syria.
“I will appeal,” the woman said after hearing the verdict premises and the reasons for sentencing.
The court concluded that she should have a certain penalty discount for the significant cooperation she has had with the Police Security Service – even though she did not give an unreserved confession. After weighing mitigating and aggravating circumstances, as well as the significance of the woman’s many and long police explanations, the court decided on a deduction from the sentence of around one year.
“General preventive considerations must weigh heavily in this case,” Nilsen emphasized, before issuing a sentence of three years and six months in prison. State Attorney Geir Evanger took time to consider the appeal question.
The indictment – and the fact the court has based its conviction on – is mostly based on information the woman herself has given to the police during questioning, and she does not deny the main points in the description of the crime. Nevertheless, she has all along denied criminal guilt, primarily because, according to her statements, she had no opportunity to get out of the ISIS-controlled areas in Syria in the years from 2013 to 2019.
The court has based itself decisively on the explanation given by Brynjar Lia, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oslo, and expert on the role of women in the ISIS caliphate. Admittedly, women should not be actively fighting for ISIS, but they are constantly singled out as invaluable supporters who enable jihad, the Islamic holy war, and help create the next generation of jihadists.
“The expert’s description of the topics covers the fact on which the court bases itself. The court cannot see that this case promotes information to the contrary,” Nilsen said.
Radicalized and in love
The now 30-year-old woman was 22 years old when she was radicalized and in love, sold off assets here at home, took the train to Sweden, and boarded the plane to Syria to join her husband, the Norwegian-Chilean foreign fighter Bastian Vasquez.
Seven years later, she was rescued from the infamous al-Hol camp by Norwegian authorities. The direct reason why the Solberg government took such a controversial step was the allegedly serious health condition of the woman’s five-year-old son.
The decision aroused considerable indignation in the Progress Party (FRP) – several prominent representatives of the party have, until the trial began in early March, cast doubt on the basis for bringing the small family home.
Four days after the woman set foot on Norwegian soil for the first time in over seven years, the FRP withdrew from the government.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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