Irish police free 3 in alleged artist murder plot

Last Updated: Saturday, March 13, 2010 - 23:30

Denver: A Colorado woman has been detained in Ireland in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate a Swedish cartoonist whose sketch offended many Muslims, a US official said Saturday.
Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 31, was among seven people arrested in Ireland this week as authorities investigate an alleged plot to kill cartoonist Lars Vilks over a 2007 sketch depicting the head of the Prophet Muhammad on a dog`s body. The drawing provoked terror front al Qaeda in Iraq to offer a $100,000 bounty for his slaying.

The US official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

After the arrests, US authorities unsealed terror charges against Colleen LaRose, 46, of Pennsylvania. She allegedly went by the name "Jihad Jane" to recruit others online to kill the cartoonist.

It`s not clear whether Paulin-Ramirez might face terror charges.

Her mother Christina Mott, of Leadville, Colo., told The Associated Press that she learned of her daughter`s arrest in the case from the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies.

Denver FBI officials said Friday they couldn`t confirm that the FBI had contacted Mott about the case.

Mott said that Paulin-Ramirez told her family after she left in September that she went to Ireland with her 6-year-old son and married an Algerian whom she met online. Before abruptly leaving Colorado, Paulin-Ramirez had been a straight-A nursing student, her mother said.

Earlier this week, Irish authorities announced the arrest of seven Muslims in the alleged plot, only identifying them as three Algerians, a Libyan, a Palestinian, a Croatian and an American woman married to one of the Algerians. They were arrested Tuesday, hours before US authorities unveiled a terror indictment against LaRose.

On Saturday, Irish police said that three of those arrested had been released without charges, while three other men and an American woman remain in custody.

Irish police refused to confirm whether Paulin-Ramirez is the woman in custody, and have declined to release the identities of any of those arrested.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting anonymous sources familiar with the case, first reported on its Web site that Paulin-Ramirez was being held in the alleged plot.

Christine Mott said she`s concerned for the welfare of her grandson, who has been placed in the custody of Ireland`s foster care system.

"This is about my baby," Christine Mott said. "We need some help to get this baby back. I`m concerned about my daughter but I`m concerned about our baby boy because he shouldn`t be caught in the middle of this."

The Motts said Paulin-Ramirez announced to her family last spring that she was converting to Islam and began wearing headscarves, and later a hijab.

"It came out of left field," Christine Mott said. "I knew she was talking to these people online... What caused her to turn her back on her country, on her family and become this person? I don`t know how or why. All I know is she was in contact with this Jihad Jane.

"The only thing I could think of is that they brainwashed her."

Irish police say LaRose visited Ireland in September and spent about two weeks with the Algerian-American couple and other suspects. Investigators believe she began communicating last year with the Irish-based suspects in member-only Internet chat rooms.

Her stepfather, George Mott, said the FBI seized a desktop computer in late September but did not tell the family what they found.

Christine Mott said her daughter was getting 4.0 grades as she studied to become a nurse practitioner and was working a $30,000 job at Eagle Valley Medical Clinic in nearby Edwards.

The Motts said Paulin-Ramirez began to withdraw and argue with her parents about her religion in the months after announcing her conversion.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 13, 2010 - 23:30

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