Lisa Smith traveled to Turkey to study with Isis propagandists, the court said

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Lisa Smith, a former member of the Defense Forces who denies Islamic State (Isis) membership, traveled to Turkey to become a student of a famous Islamic convert who wrote Isis propaganda, the Special Criminal Court heard.

Michael O’Higgins SC read for Ms. Smith a 2013 exchange of messages between his client and American Islamic scholar John Georgelas, who was living in Egypt at the time.

The lawyer said Mr Georgelas had asked Ms Smith to travel to Egypt to study with him and said he would pay her to help his wife Tania Joya look after their children.

Ms Smith replied: ‘I would not dream of accepting money to look after your children. If I can benefit from your knowledge as your student, that would be more than enough payment for me.”

Mr Georgelas left Egypt with Ms Joya and arranged to meet Ms Smith in Turkey.

Ms Joya, who testified on a second day, told Mr O’Higgins that her husband was smart and manipulative and communicated with Ms Smith over the internet every day in 2013.

She said he was a respected scholar who could “overwhelm” people with his knowledge of Scripture. She told Sean Gillane SC for prosecutors that Georgelas wrote for Dabiq and Rumiyah magazines, which publish Isis propaganda

Ms Smith, 39, of Dundalk, Co Louth, pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group, Islamic State, between October 28, 2015 and December 1, 2019. She has also pleaded not guilty to financing terrorism by sending €800 in support via a Western Union money transfer to a named man on May 6, 2015.

Her trial will continue before Justice Tony Hunt, Justice Gerard Griffin and Justice Cormac Dunne in a three-judge court without a jury.

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