Dutch woman given two years for terror offences

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A Dutch court sentenced a young woman to two years in prison Monday for travelling to Syria to join the Islamic State group in one of the first such cases in the Netherlands.

"The court considers it proven that she planned to prepare and promote terrorist activities," the Rotterdam District Court said.

"Therefore she is sentenced to two years in jail of which 13 months are suspended for three years," the court said in a statement.

Because the woman, known only as Laura H. already spent another year in detention, she will effectively not go back to jail, the judges added.

She was also acquitted of belonging to the IS group, the Dutch news agency ANP said.

The 22-year-old convert to Islam was arrested when she flew back to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport in July 2016 after apparently fleeing the jihadists.

Laura H., her partner and two young children left The Netherlands in September 2015 to join the IS group where her husband wanted to join jihadist fighters.

"Judging from her statements, the accused knew even before her departure that her husband harboured sympathy for IS and that he wanted to travel to Syria," the judges said.

Originally from the town of Leidschendam, Laura H. told judges she was forced to travel to Raqa, in Syria, in September 2015 by her violent partner.

Months later though she fled with her children to a Kurdish-controlled area in Iraq with the help of her father in The Netherlands.

Prosecutors asked for a 35-month jail term with 24 months suspended under strict conditions.

Laura H. is now not allowed to come close to the Dutch borders or any airports and were ordered not to make contact with any current or former jihadists.

She met her partner, known as Ibrahim I., via the internet in 2013, when she was just 17 but had already converted to Islam, the public broadcaster NOS has said.

He was put to work making bombs for IS in Syria and his fate is unknown.

At least 280 people, a third of whom are women, are believed to have left The Netherlands to fight in Iraq and Syria for jihadist groups, according to Dutch counter-terrorism officials.

About 45 have been killed, 45 have returned home and another 190 are thought to still be in the region, although their exact fate remains unknown.

Experts told Dutch media Monday that Laura H.'s case was one of the first involving a woman travelling to Syria.

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© 2017 AFP

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