US Citizen, Widow of Moroccan ISIS Member Charged with Terrorism

US Citizen, Widow of Moroccan ISIS Member Charged with Terrorism

Sunday, 26 August, 2018 - 09:30
Samantha Elhassani. (AP)
Washington - Mohammed Ali Saleh
American citizen and widow of Moroccan ISIS member, Samantha Elhassani was charged with terrorism by an Indiana court.

The US attorney's office said Elhassani, 32, was charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and aiding and abetting individuals in providing material support to the group.

"The charges against Elhassani illustrate that actions of providing support to ISIS have serious consequences, and should serve as a reminder to American citizens that providing assistance to terrorist organizations or individuals aligned with terrorist entities will not be tolerated," stated Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division.

Elhassani stated that she first met her Moroccan husband when they were working at a courier company in Indiana. They were married for ten years.

She told the BBC and PBS in April that during a 2015 vacation in Turkey, her husband tricked her into traveling with their children to Syria, where he joined ISIS and died in an air strike. She and the children ended up in a Kurdish detention camp and were transferred to US custody in July by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

At least 71 Americans have traveled to Iraq or Syria to join ISIS, according to a George Washington University Program on Extremism database. A total number of 24 were killed, the fate of 29 remains unknown and 18 returned to the US.

Elhassani told CNN in April that when she tried to escape from Raqqa, she was imprisoned for months and raped by ISIS members.

She added that she endured a lot from her husband in order to protect her four children. She said he once took her to a slave market after suggesting they could help keep her and the children company while he was off fighting.

Over time, she said the couple bought two female teenage slaves and a young boy. The first slave was a girl named Soad, who Elhassani said she paid $10,000 for.

Elhassani said her husband repeatedly raped the two girls, but she defended her decision to purchase them because she offered them protection.

The couple's four minor children were placed in the custody of Indiana's child welfare services.

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