Lawyer says Lisa Smith and her daughter are in "grave danger" in Syrian camp


Michael Staines
Michael Staines

11.50 8 Aug 2019


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Lawyers for an Irish woman who is being held in Syria have warned that there is no doubt her life and the life of her child is at risk.

Former Defence Forces member Lisa Smith is being held with her young daughter at a Kurdish-controlled camp on suspicion of being a member of the so-called Islamic State.

She travelled to Syria in 2015 after converting to Islam and was arrested as she was preparing to return home to Ireland.

The Taoiseach has said she has a right to return; however, he made clear that investigations into her activities will have to be carried out on her return.

"Grave danger"

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, her solicitor Darragh Mackin said time is running out for her safe return.

“We have set out in quite some detail to the Department of Foreign Affairs and to the Department of Justice as to what we say are the requisite steps that now need to be taken.

“It is clear at this stage that none of these steps have been taken and unfortunately we are running out of time because of the reality, that we can’t forget that the current situation that Lisa and her child are in is one of grave danger.”

Lisa Smith Irishwoman Lisa Smith at a Syrian refugee camp.

Syrian camp

He said women and children being held in the camps alongside people who are “more extreme and radicalised and continue to exercise threats and threatening behaviour to those women who speak out as Lisa has done.”

“You can’t forget here that Lisa has spoken out and has made it clear that she doesn’t agree with the degree that the position that ISIS has taken and indeed has asked to be returned.

“That position is one that is not accepted by other radicalised women and for that reason we say that Lisa is and continues to be in danger.”

He said the “very unstable” political situation in Syria could cause further problems for Ms Smith and her daughter in the camp.

Lisa Smith

He said no formal request has been made to bring Ms Smith home - and said the Government must now act.

“We can’t look past the fact that the Irish Government has obligations,” he said. “It has responsibilities.”

“No matter how heinous or distasteful the crimes in question, they must take steps to investigate those crimes and they must take steps to ensure that their obligations and their responsibilities in respect of Irish citizens, to include Lisa’s innocent child, are upheld.”

You can listen back to the interview in full here.

Lawyer says Lisa Smith and her daughter are in "grave danger" in Syrian camp

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