So-Called Jihad Jane and Colorado Mom Plead Not Guilty on Terror Charges

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Two American women were indicted last week on charges related to terrorism, and one has pleaded not guilty at an arraignment.

Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, who is currently being held in a Philadelphia federal detention center, faces federal charges of conspiracy to support terrorism overseas. Also named in the indictment is Colleen R. LaRose, a Pennsylvania woman who has gained notoriety as “Jihad Jane.”

According to the indictment, LaRose, who is in her late 40s, exchanged e-mails with Paulin-Ramirez in 2009, inviting her to attend a jihadist training camp in Europe. In September, 2009, Paulin-Ramirez and her six-year-old son flew to Ireland, where the 31-year-old woman met and married a man with whom she had been corresponding online.

Paulin-Ramirez was arrested in March in Ireland as part of an investigation into a murder conspiracy, along with seven other co-conspirators, all of them allegedly involved in a plot by LaRose “ to wage violent jihad in south Asia and Europe.” The indictment said that LaRose recruited people who were able to travel abroad in order to support jihad. They planned to martyr themselves, and to solicit money and passports for terrorists.

Paulin-Ramirez, who was released without being charged, voluntarily returned to the United States to answer charges against her in Philadelphia, a decision which her lawyer cites as proof of her innocence.

LaRose, who had earlier pleaded not guilty to a four-count indictment of conspiring to support terrorists, conspiring to kill a person in a foreign country, making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft, is accused of having agreed last year to kill a Swedish citizen, Lars Vilks. Vilks, a cartoonist, had been targeted by al Qaeda for having drawn a cartoon in which the Prophet Mohammed was depicted with the body of a dog. The cartoon sparked outrage among the Islamist community.

The indictment against the two women also included an email exchange between them. On August 1st, LaRose wrote, “when our brother[s] defend our faith [&] their homes, they are terrorist … fine, then i am a terrorist & proud to be this.” Paulin-Ramirez wrote a response that said, “if thats how they call it then so be it i am what i am.”

If convicted of the charges against them, Paulin-Ramirez could face a maximum sentence of 15 years and a $250,000 fine, while LaRose would face a possible life sentence in prison and a fine of $1 million.

 

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