A lovesick Sydney teen could face up to 15 years in the slammer for sending more than $13,000 to her ISIS sweetie, who promised to marry her.
Zemarai Khatiz, a lawyer for the now-17-year-old girl, insists that she was “brainwashed” and “manipulated” into becoming the militant’s “puppet,” he told the Parramatta Children’s Court on Friday,according to Australia’s Daily Telegraph.
“She had romantic feelings toward him, he had told her that he wanted to marry her,” Khatiz said.
The girl pleaded guilty in November to knowingly collecting funds for a terrorist organization when she sent the man $13,448 in Western Union transfers between 2015 and 2016, 9 News reported.
He instructed her to write Christian names as the recipients so the transfers would seem less suspicious.
The girl was 14 and the jihadist was 22 when they first met in Sydney.
He convinced her that the money was to “assist the mujahideen against the kafir,” or non-believers, prosecutor Troy Anderson said.
The man did renovations on the girl’s family home and stayed in touch with her on an overseas “pilgrimage” and after ending up in Syria to fight for ISIS, Anderson said.
“This is a very serious offense and this is a very serious example of it,” Anderson told the court. “She is acting like an adult. She may be acting at the request of an adult but she is cognizant of what she is doing.”
Anderson wants the girl’s case to instead be heard in the New South Wales District Court, where she’d face up to 15 years, as opposed to children’s court, where the maximum sentence is two.
But Khatiz painted his client as a vulnerable young girl who was simply smitten by an older man.
“Her life had hit rock bottom, she didn’t have friends, she didn’t have a father, problems at home, and the influencing occurred in that context,” he said.
Magistrate Judge Estelle Hawdon will hand down a decision next Friday, according to 9 News.
Credit: NY Post