A former Daesh* bride and Irish citizen has won an appeal to a ban on her entering the UK on the grounds of national security, reported the Irish Times.
Ex-Air Corps Lisa Smith, from County Louth, had been the subject of a Home Office-issued exclusion order on the grounds of national security since December 2019.
Smith, who is to go on trial in Dublin next year on charges of being a member of an unlawful terrorist group and financing terrorism, had appealed against the decision to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in London. She pleaded close family connections to the North of Ireland, with SIAC finally ruling in her favour.
In a written judgement today, the SIAC said the decision to exclude Smith was 'discriminatory'.
The original ruling had been based on regulations providing for the exclusion of a national of an European Economic Area (EEA) state who is not also a British citizen.
However, the SIAC stated that while Irish citizens can be excluded, this cannot apply to those with dual nationality. A Home Office spokesperson was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying:
“We are disappointed with this judgement and are considering our options for appeal.”
Ex-Air Corps Turned Daesh bride
Once described as a “party girl” by friends, Liza Smith reportedly started attending a mosque in Dundalk, County Louth, in Ireland and converted to Islam amid depression following the breakdown of her marriage in 2013. The former member of the Irish Defence Forces fled to Syria to ostensibly become a second bride to British jihadist Sajid Aslam and had a child with him.
Following the alleged death of her husband in Syria, Smith appealed to the authorities for a safe return to Ireland.
"I think people should just realise that all the people here are not terrorists. I want to go home," she was cited as saying at the time by CNN.
“Even if they put me in prison at home, it’s better than being here,” a Canadian citizen tells @JomanaCNN who gets rare access to #SDF-controlled camps where more than 1,000 foreign #ISIS fighters are stranded as their home countries seem reluctant to take them back. #Syria pic.twitter.com/FKxCXzUDp3— Connect the World (@CNNConnect) March 24, 2019
The woman returned to Ireland in 2019 after being housed for a while in the al-Hol refugee camp — the same place where the former British citizen Shamima Begum had stayed.
Begum, a denaturalised British born woman who left the UK at age 15 to join Daesh, had sparked a broad debate in 2019 after voicing a desire to return to the UK. In February 2019, the UK government issued an order revoking her British citizenship.
Lisa Smith, 39, who as flight attendant in the Air Corps used to serve high-profile officials, such as then Prime Minister of Ireland Bertie Ahern in his government jet, was arrested at Dublin Airport on suspicion of terrorist offences after returning from Turkey in November 2019 with her young daughter.
She was charged with membership of a terror group and funding terrorism in 2020 under 2005 legislation – a charge she denied. The woman claims she went to Syria to learn the teachings of the Quran.
After being served with a notice by the Home Secretary to exclude her from the UK on the grounds of national security, Smith appealed to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in London.
The woman, whose father is originally from Belfast, argued that she had close family connections to the North of Ireland and often travelled across the border.
She has, thus, won the court case fighting her exclusion from the UK.
The decision sparked a swift response on social media, as many recalled similar cases of “Daesh brides” seeking to return to the UK. Netizens deplored the ruling as potentially opening the way for others to appeal their cases and follow suit.
@10DowningStreet@pritipatel— Peter R 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧 (@PeterR2808) May 7, 2021
Need to contest this through the appeals court
This must not be allowed to happen, we don't want anymore terroists in the UK
Retweet to stop this happening
ISIS bride Lisa Smith wins right to enter UK https://t.co/NbGcrkXMPu via @MailOnline
Well done judge. Letting terrorists walk freely among us. Well fuckin done.— Mademoiselle (@mlleKryAlot) May 7, 2021
Why do you want to return to a country whose values you don’t agree with? Oh the state of ISIS wasn’t the utopian fairytale you thought it would be?— Quintin (@kutsithemonster) May 7, 2021
And this is what’s wrong with the system ..... either ban them all or let them all in don’t be cherry picking ffs— philip (@icsyrup) May 7, 2021
She should not be allowed to re-enter the UK. Let her languish with the other ISIS brides in a Syrian refugee camp. She is a traitor to the UK.— Arlene B. Heed (@ArleneBHeed) May 7, 2021