Convicted Islamic State member Lisa Smith freed after serving one year in jail
Ex-Irish Army soldier released early after being described as a model prisoner
Lisa Smith has been released from prison just one year after being sentenced to 15 months for joining the terror group Islamic State.
The former Irish Army soldier left Limerick Prison on Wednesday afternoon and was collected by a family member.
All prisoners are entitled to 25pc remission and the Dundalk woman had been described as a model prisoner.
Speaking to the Sunday World last year, she rejected calls to leave the religion of Islam behind her, saying: “That’s not going to happen. I love my religion, it’s what I live for now.”
Asked at the time if she was hopeful of avoiding a jail sentence, Smith said: “It doesn’t matter. My life is my life, my journey is my journey.”
She had previously been living in tough conditions at a Syrian refugee camp with her young daughter before being sent back to Ireland in December 2019, where she was arrested.
During her time at the refugee camp, she s aid in o ne interview that she was not involved in fighting. She also denied claims that she had trained girls to become fighters.
She also claimed she had been visited more than once by the FBI for questioning, and agents had taken her fingerprints and DNA.
The mother of one was found guilty in May 2022 after a nine-week trial at the non-jury Special Criminal Court.
Delivering the verdict, Judge Tony Hunt said the court had established that Smith travelled to Syria “with her eyes open” and pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS).
He noted that while Smith was at low risk of reoffending, she was persistent and determined in her efforts to travel to Syria and join IS. He also said she had shown no remorse for her actions.
The judge said it was “serious” for an Irish citizen to take up allegiance with a terrorist organisation and persist with it.
In October 2015, she bought a one-way ticket, travelled from Dublin to Turkey, and crossed the border into an IS-controlled area of Syria.
In March of this year, the Court of Appeal ruled against her appeal on the severity of her sentence.