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‘Jihad Jane’ Colleen LaRose jailed over plot to kill cartoonist Lars Vilks


Monday 06 January 2014 20:14 GMT
Colleen LaRose and her attorney Mark Wilson, right, are shown in this courtroom sketch during her sentencing hearing in Philadelphia
Colleen LaRose and her attorney Mark Wilson, right, are shown in this courtroom sketch during her sentencing hearing in Philadelphia (Art Lien/Reuters)

A US woman involved in a plot to kill a Swedish artist who had allegedly offended Muslims has been jailed for 10 years.

Colleen LaRose, 50, from Pennsylvania, had called herself “Jihad Jane” online and agreed to kill the artist, Lars Vilks, over a series of drawings depicting the prophet Mohammed as a dog. The plot was never carried out.

She faced a potential life sentence. But the judge accepted a government request to reduce the sentence because of her extensive cooperation with investigators.

Prosecutors still asked for decades in prison, saying she remains dangerous.

Both sides agree that LaRose, from Pennsylvania, was isolated and endured harsh abuse throughout her life.

Larose told the judge she became obsessed with jihad, saying she was "in a trance" and thought about it from morning to night.

"I don't want to be into jihad no more," she said.

She could be out of prison in a little over four years, given the more than four years she has already served and the potential for time off for good behavior.

Investigators said she was part of a 2009 conspiracy to target Mr Vilks over his drawings. Muslim extremists in Iraq had offered a 100,000 dollars for anyone who killed Mr Vilks, who was never attacked.

The Justice Department said Ali Charaf Damache, who was living in Ireland, recruited LaRose and another US woman via jihadist websites.

Damache married the other woman, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, on the day she arrived in Ireland.

LaRose left the terror cell in Ireland after about six weeks because she "grew frustrated because her co-conspirators were not ready for action," Assistant UA Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said.

LaRose returned to the US in 2009 to surrender, becoming one of the few women ever charged in the country with terrorist activities. Her arrest was kept secret and only revealed after Paulin-Ramirez and the six others were rounded up in Ireland months later.

Paulin-Ramirez and another co-defendant, teenager Mohammad Hassan Khalid, are scheduled to be sentenced this week.

Defence lawyer Mark Wilson said LaRose had come to understand the true, peaceful tenets of Islam and said "there's virtually no chance that she would ever be involved in violent jihad ever again."


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