Court issues first-ever ‘foreign fighter’ terrorism conviction

ROME: An Italian woman who has moved to Syria to join IS was convicted of terrorism and jailed for nine years on Monday, in the first-ever ruling handed in Italy against a so-called foreign fighter.
Maria Giulia Sergio, 29 (pictured), was convicted along with her Albanian husband, Aldo Kobuzi, her mother-in-law, her sister-in-law and her father. They were all tried in absentia apart from the father, who was arrested in 2015 along with other family members.
Kobuzi was jailed for 10 years; his mother and sister each received an eight-year term; Sergio’s father, who was indicted for less serious crimes and is under house arrest, was sentenced to four years.
Another fugitive, Canadian citizen Haik Bushra, was sentenced to nine years. The woman, hailing from a Syrian family but born and raised in Italy, and believed to be in the Middle East, was accused of recruiting women for IS.
Sergio, who took the name of Fatima az Zahra after converting to Islam, left for Syria with her husband shortly after marrying in September 2014, was trying to convince relatives still in Italy to join her.
In an interview with the Corriere della Sera paper last year, she described IS as a “perfect state, because it follows the law of God,” and defended decapitation as punishment for thieves and spies.
According to estimates, there have been 5,000-7,000 of them in Syria since 2011, including about 100 from Italy.
— dpa