Colo. woman gets 8 years in Pa. in jihadist plot

Jan 8, 2014, 8:11 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A Colorado woman who found love and Islam online was sentenced to eight years in prison for supporting the work of her husband, an Algerian terror suspect.

Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 35, got a break after helping the FBI investigate the al-Qaida-linked figure and others, including a Pennsylvania woman who called herself “Jihad Jane.”

Prosecutors sought a 10-year term, chiefly because Paulin-Ramirez took her 6-year-old son to join a terror cell in Ireland, where he was taught to be a warrior and hate non-Muslims. The boy also endured physical abuse during the four-month stay. A video played in court Wednesday showed him reciting inflammatory verses and thrusting a toy weapon as his mother, laughing, says, “Go attack the kafir,” or non-believers.

“I hope he actually forgets this, what I put him through,” Paulin-Ramirez, of Leadville, Colo., told the judge. “I didn’t want my son to think like that. I only wanted to help my son so he wouldn’t get punished.”

Paulin-Ramirez had led a troubled life before she fled to Waterford along Ireland’s southern coast in 2009 to marry Ali Charaf Damache, whom she had met online as she researched and converted to Islam.

A defense expert testified that she had a twisted view of the religion, culled from extremist postings.

Paulin-Ramirez also came to know Colleen LaRose, who called herself “Jihad Jane” in YouTube videos and was looking for other American women to help the cause. They were sought for their Western looks and passports, which enabled them to travel more freely around the world.

Another chat-room contributor, high school honors student Mohammad Hassan Khalid of suburban Baltimore, became entangled with them. A Pakistani-American, the FBI arrested him at 17, as he was preparing to accept a prestigious college scholarship. Now 20, he remains in custody awaiting his sentence and could be deported.

LaRose, 50, of Pennsburg, Pa., was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for her role in the plot. She had agreed to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, whose drawings depicting the prophet Muhammad as a dog had offended Muslims.

Vilks has called the assassination plot “low-tech,” and LaRose never got within 300 miles of him. However, Chief U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker said she didn’t doubt LaRose’s commitment.

The judge found it stunning that the two lonely women ran off to join strangers in search of a holy war.

“I, like the government, can’t get past the fact that you took your son (there),” Tucker told Paulin-Ramirez. “You don’t know where you’re going, or what you were going to face when you got there.”

And she called it “unforgiveable” that he was indoctrinated into terrorism.

The boy’s life has apparently remained difficult. He was placed with his grandmother but was removed over a 2012 abuse complaint. Her husband has since been convicted, and the boy again resides with the grandmother, according to defense evidence.

Damache, known as “Black Flag,” remains in custody in Ireland, fighting extradition on the Philadelphia indictment.

Prosecutors believe he is affiliated with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, an al-Qaida offshoot with a presence in Algeria. The group has never attempted an attack on the United States.

However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Williams said that defendants like the pair sentenced this week exacerbate security fears.

“It (also) hurts the Muslim religion she claims to love so much,” Williams said of Paulin-Ramirez. “It creates fear. It creates bias.”

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Andy Huynh, left, and Alex Drueke, far right, are seen hugging their loved ones after arriving at B...
Associated Press

‘We got our miracle’: Freed Americans back home in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Two U.S. military veterans who disappeared three months ago while fighting with Ukrainian forces against Russia arrived home to Alabama on Saturday, greeted by hugs, cheers and tears of joy at the state’s main airport. Alex Drueke, 40, and Andy Huynh, 27, had gone missing June 9 in the Kharkiv region […]
15 hours ago
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General A...
Associated Press

On Ukraine, Russia repeats insistence that it had no choice

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia made its case to the world Saturday for its war in Ukraine, repeating a series of grievances about its neighbor and the West to tell the U.N. General Assembly meeting of leaders that Moscow had “no choice” but to take military action. After days of denunciations of Russia at the […]
15 hours ago
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announces a new federal office of envir...
Associated Press

Biden administration launches environmental justice office

WARRENTON, N.C. (AP) — Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied against hosting a hazardous waste landfill, President Joe Biden’s top environment official visited what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement Saturday to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants […]
15 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Defense Department shows Cpl. Joseph J. Puopolo. The solide...
Associated Press

Soldier who went missing during Korean War accounted for

BOSTON (AP) — A soldier from Massachusetts who went missing during the Korean War and was later reported to have died in a prisoner of war camp has been accounted for using modern scientific techniques, military officials said. Army Cpl. Joseph J. Puopolo, 19, of East Boston, was accounted for in August, according to a […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in N...
Associated Press

Pharoah Sanders, influential jazz saxophonist, dies at 81

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pharoah Sanders, the influential tenor saxophonist revered in the jazz world for the spirituality of his work, has died, his record label announced. He was 81. Sanders, also known for his extensive work alongside John Coltrane in the 1960s, died in Los Angeles early Saturday, said the tweet from Luaka Bop, […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Crowded campsites, high demand cause fights, ‘camp pirates’

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Some Oregon parks officials say high demand for crowded campsites is leading to arguments, fistfights and even so-called “campsite pirates.” Brian Carroll with Linn County Parks and Recreation said park rangers have had to play mediator this summer as would-be campers argue over first-come, first-served campsites at Sunnyside County Park, the […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Colo. woman gets 8 years in Pa. in jihadist plot