`Jihad Jane` pleads guilty to terror charges

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - 13:44

Boston: An American woman, who styled
herself `Jihad Jane`, today pleaded guilty to charges that she
worked online to support Islamic terrorists and moved overseas
to plot killing of a Swedish artist who drew cartoons of
Prophet Mohammad.

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Colleen LaRose replied "yes"
when she was asked by US District Court Judge Petrese Tucker
in a Philadelphia court if she was pleading guilty, after
denying the charges last year.

LaRose, 47, changed her plea to guilty to all counts
of a superseding indictment charging her with conspiracy to
provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in
a foreign country, making false statements and attempted
identity theft.

LaRose was arrested in October 2009 in a plot to kill
Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, whose cartoons had angered many
across the Muslim world.

She faces a maximum potential sentence of life in
prison and a one million dollar fine when sentenced on March
3. She had pleaded not guilty to the charges last year.

"Today`s guilty plea, by a woman from suburban America
who plotted with others to commit murder overseas and to
provide material support to terrorists, underscores the
evolving nature of the threat we face," Assistant Attorney
General for National Security David Kris said.

LaRose`s case, which came to light months after
Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley was charged with
plotting terrorist attacks in India and Denmark, was seen as a
disturbing new development of home-grown terrorism.

Like Headley, La Rose`s American citizenship and
appearance made it easy for her to travel in and out of the
country undetected.

A former resident of Pennsylvania, LaRose was charged
by indictment in March 2010.

A superseding indictment was filed in April 2010,
adding co-defendant Jamie Paulin Ramirez, a US citizen and
former resident of Colorado.

Ramirez is awaiting trial which is scheduled to begin
May 2, 2011.

According to documents filed with the court, LaRose
and her co-conspirators recruited men and women on the
Internet to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe.

She recruited women who had passports and the ability
to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad,
the documents added.

Prosecutors said LaRose "worked obsessively on her
computer to communicate with, recruit and incite other
jihadists." LaRose and her co-conspirators communicated on the
internet with each other regarding their plans, which included
martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists,
soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions.

She also stole her boyfriend`s US passport and
transferred it in an effort to facilitate an act of
international terrorism.

In e-mails recovered by the FBI, LaRose had also
agreed to marry an online contact from South Asia so he could
move to Europe.

In addition, LaRose also received a direct order to
kill the Sweden cartoonist in a way that would frighten "the
whole Kufar (non-believer) world."

LaRose had allegedly bragged in one email that her
appearance allowed her to go anywhere undetected, saying it
was "an honor and great pleasure to die or kill for" jihad.

She had posted a comment on YouTube in 2008 that she
was "desperate to do something somehow to help" the suffering
Muslim people.

LaRose travelled to Europe in 2009 where she planned
to train with jihadists and find and kill the Swedish
cartoonist Lars Vilks.

She used aliases including `JihadJane`,
`ExtremeSister4Life` and `SisterOfTerror` on the internet.
LaRose has a history of broken marriages and petty
crime.

She lived with her boyfriend Kurt Gorman and his
father in Pennsburg, near Philadelphia.

Gorman had said he sensed nothing amiss in their
five-year relationship.

She later swiped Gorman`s passport and planned to
give it to a co-conspirator, the indictment said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - 13:44

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