Court battle Lisa Smith explains why she is fighting ban on her crossing border into Northern Ireland
April 23 2021 06:45 AM
A FORMER Irish Army soldier who travelled to Syria during the civil war there has explained why she is fighting a ban on her entering the UK, claiming it breaches the Good Friday Agreement.
Lisa Smith, who is charged with membership of Islamic State, appeared remotely in front of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in London this week, challenging a UK Home Office ban on her crossing the border into Northern Ireland.
While she is from Dundalk, Co Louth, Ms Smith’s father and much of her family are from Belfast.
As such, she has argued she is entitled to hold a British passport and should be allowed to travel freely within the UK, including to Northern Ireland to visit her paternal family.
“I have always had close family ties to the North and as a result of unproven allegations against me I have been unfairly excluded from the North of Ireland,” Ms Smith said.
“I have therefore instructed my solicitors to robustly challenge this exclusion on the basis that it is contrary to my rights and contrary to the Good Friday Agreement.”
Ms Smith, who converted to Islam more than a decade ago, travelled to Syria in 2015 to live in Isis’s self-declared caliphate.
She married and had a child with a British jihadist, Sajid Aslam, who is thought to have later died in the conflict.
On December 31, 2019, Ms Smith was issued with an order banning her from the UK.
The Home Office argued that as her parents were not married at the time of her birth, she did not qualify for automatic citizenship.
Ms Smith’s case could not be reported until now as there were restrictions on naming her, which have since been lifted.
Her solicitor, Darragh Mack- in, argued that UK Home Secretary Priti Patel failed to take into consideration the dual nationality of those with Northern Irish parentage as enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement.
Ms Smith’s case made global headlines when she returned to Ireland in 2019 along with her then two-year-old daughter on a flight from Istanbul.
She was arrested immediately on landing and taken for questioning.
She is currently charged with committing a terrorist offence outside the State between October 2015 and December 2019 and being a member of Islamic State on the same dates. Her trial is scheduled to start next January.