01 Jul 2022

American who got Lisa Smith out of women's "prison" was wanted by FBI on terrorism charges, trial told

American who got Lisa Smith out of women's "prison" was wanted by FBI on terrorism charges, trial told

An American Islamic convert who taught Lisa Smith about the Quran and helped get her out of a women's "prison" in Syria was wanted by the FBI to face charges for supporting a terrorist organisation, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

In interviews with gardai Ms Smith, a former Irish soldier who denies membership of Islamic State, said that in March 2016 John Georgelas (aka Abu Hassan) got her out of a "madaffa" where she said she had been imprisoned for five months with 50 to 60 other women in a single house.

FBI agent Alan Goehring today, Thursday February 3rd, told prosecution counsel Sean Gillane SC that on June 14, 2016 the FBI put Georgelas on an Interpol "red alert recall notice" as he was wanted to face three charges: for providing material support to a terrorist organisation, conspiring to support a terrorist organisation, and for a crime of violence.

Agent Geohring also told the court that in 2006 Georgelas was sentenced to 34 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to accessing a protected computer to access passwords protecting the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) website.

The court previously heard from witness Tania Joya that Georgelas intended to use the passwords to damage the organisation's website.

Ms Smith (39) from Dundalk, Co Louth has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group, Islamic State, between October 28th, 2015 and December 1st, 2019.

She has also pleaded not (NOT) guilty to financing terrorism by sending €800 in assistance, via a Western Union money transfer, to a named man on May 6th, 2015.

The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Cormac Dunne at the non-jury court.

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