‘Jihad Jane,’ better known to her friends as Colleen LaRose, may walk free from jail early, due to her cooperation with prosecutors. The American born woman – who converted to Islam – was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for plotting to murder Swedish artist Lars Vilks. It was Vilks who drew a controversial picture of the Prophet Mohammed.
LaRose pleaded guilty to the charges against her, which included collaborating with an Al Qaeda cell in a plot to kill the Swedish artist. At first, prosecutors were looking for a life sentence against ‘Jihad Jane’, but because of her cooperation, she is due to be released in six years – having already served four.
LaRose’s attorney’s have tried to paint their client as a lonely and isolated woman in a deluded search for truth through Islam, and not as a criminal terrorist seeking financial recompense.
Her team spoke in court about the fact that LaRose suffered a troubled upbringing, including sexual abuse, prostitution and heavy drug and alcohol use. They explained that she was strongly influenced online by jihadists, who manipulated and used her.
For his part, the subject of the murder plot, Vilks, has shown compassion toward ‘Jihad Jane’, saying that she has already served enough time. He said LaRose is “a person who has been through a lot of difficulties in her life and needs mental care more than anything else.”
LaRose inherited her name ‘Jihad Jane’ from the time she used it as a username on a jihadist chat room, She met Al Charaf Damache in the chat room, and was persuaded to link up with him in Ireland to plan the attack on Vilks.
But LaRose only spent six weeks in Ireland, the reasons for which both sides of the legal teams disagree. Prosecutors claimed that LaRose quit the cell citing the fact that she “grew frustrated because her co-conspirators were not ready for action.”
On the other hand, the defense team, say that their client had second thoughts and questioned the moral aspect of the murder plot. But LaRose even boasted after her arrest that her appearance (green eyes and fair skin), enabled her to travel freely around the world without arousing suspicion.
Public defender Mark Wilson said that ‘Jihad Jane‘ had changed her view on Islam, seeing it now as a religion of peace and therefore did not pose a public threat anymore: “There’s virtually no chance that she would ever be involved in violent jihad ever again,” he said.