If Isis suspect so much as sets foot in Northern Ireland, arrest her, says senior unionist

An Irishwoman who converted to Islam and is accused of joining Islamic State should be immediately arrested if she enters Northern Ireland, a senior unionist has declared.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 6:30 am
Updated Saturday, 8th May 2021, 7:15 am
Sir Reg Empey

Sir Reg Empey was reacting to news that the government’s “exclusion order” barring Lisa Smith from entering UK territory has been rendered void.

Lord Empey described the decision as an “utterly ridiculous” one which will “horrify” the vast majority of people.

Smith is a former member of the Irish military from Dundalk who converted to Islam and later travelled to Syria.

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Alleged IS member Lisa Smith arrives at the Central Criminal Court, Dublin, for a court hearing. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 8, 2020. See PA story IRISH IS. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Her case stands in contrast with that of Shamima Begum, an English-Bangladeshi woman who was stripped of her UK citizenship after leaving to join Islamic State in Syria.

Begum was 15 at the time of her journey. Smith, now 39, is believed to have gone to Syria in about 2015, when she was over twice Begum’s age.

Once there, Smith had a daughter; the father is widely reported as being British jihadist Sajid Aslam, now believed dead.

Smith is currently awaiting trial in Dublin on terror charges, which she denies.

Sir Reg (above) had quizzed the UK government back in 2019 about the possibility of Smith entering NI but was told that “the UK has robust policies in place to exclude those whose behaviour is non-conducive to the public good”.

He said last night: “If she sets foot in NI – or any other part of the UK for that matter – she must be immediately arrested so UK authorities can question her and establish whether or not she was involved in ISIS terrorist activity that impacted on UK citizens.”

Belfast legal firm Phoenix Law (which describes its mission as “to improve human rights and accountability”) worked on her case and hailed her victory as “hugely significant for the upholding of basic human rights”.

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