Kansas, who led the ISIS battalion, acquired 20 years in jail

Kansas, who led the ISIS battalion, acquired 20 years in jail


A former Kansas schoolteacher who grew to become a uncommon feminine Islamic State chief and commanded her personal battalion in Syria was sentenced Tuesday to twenty years of imprisonment.

Alison Fluke-Ekren admitted she skilled greater than 100 ladies — together with ladies as younger as 10 — to make use of assault rifles, grenades and suicide bombers as Islamic State battled US-backed forces for management of Syria in 2017 12 months. contribution to the Islamic State continued after her second, third and fourth husbands had been killed whereas working for the terrorist group, and her 5-year-old son was killed in a tank assault, based on courtroom data.

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Extremism researchers say Fluke-Ekren, 42, is the primary and thus far the one girl in the US to be prosecuted for a job within the management of the Islamic State group. Fluke-Ekren’s two youngsters described her as an abuser who fantasized about finishing up terrorist assaults and who sought to show these round her to kill “infidels.” Federal prosecutor Raj Parekh referred to as Fluke-Ekren “the empress of IS.”

“Let there be little doubt what the aim of this battalion was,” stated Parekh, the primary assistant U.S. lawyer for the Jap District of Virginia. He stated that “it was not in self-defense” and {that a} doc from Islamic State confirmed {that a} member of the Fluke-Ekren brigade “wished to be the primary to hold out a suicide operation”.

Protection attorneys disputed allegations of kid abuse and characterised Fluke-Ekren as a battalion chief who by no means noticed fight.

“We did not even fireplace the cannon,” Fluke-Ekren stated. “I’ve by no means seen a suicide bomber explode or explode.”

Former associates stated Fluke-Ekren was a diligent younger mom who earned a level in biology from the College of Kansas, went to graduate faculty in Indiana and labored as a trainer in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri, earlier than transferring to Egypt together with her youngsters and second husband in 2008. . After that, she made a pointy flip to extremism, her relations instructed American investigators.

Fluke-Ekren grew up as Alison Elizabeth Brooks on an 81-acre farm in Overbrook, Kan., the daughter of a trainer and an Military veteran who served in Vietnam, prosecutors stated.

“There’s nothing in Fluke-Ekren’s previous that would clarify her conduct,” Parekh stated throughout the sentencing. Fluke-Ekren’s father instructed US authorities that she was “vulnerable to bigotry” and “usually appeared for folks to present her a tough time as a result of she was Muslim.”

“Was she non secular? sure. She was from Central America. Earlier than changing into a Muslim, she was like a Bible-breaking Christian.” — Amy Amer, Fluke-Ekren’s ex-girlfriend said The Washington Post in June. Amer stated she was shocked when Fluke-Ekren began selling extremist concepts.

Fluke-Ekren pleaded responsible this 12 months to a cost of conspiracy to supply materials help to a terrorist group, admitting that she assisted terrorist teams whereas stationed in Iraq, Libya and Syria from 2011 to 2019. Fluent in English and Arabic, Fluke-Ekren’s help included analyzing paperwork from Ansar al-Sharia, the group behind the 2012 assault on an American compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed 4 Individuals, based on her responsible plea. Prosecutors stated she additionally offered help to al-Qaida’s affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

But it surely was within the Islamic State that Fluke-Ekren achieved a outstanding function.

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In 2016, Fluke-Ekren’s second husband directed Islamic State snipers in Syria, and she or he organized for childcare, medical providers and schooling within the metropolis of Raqqa, based on courtroom paperwork. Fluke-Ekren skilled ladies and younger ladies to make use of AK-47 rifles, grenades and loss of life belts laced with explosives when male fighters wanted assist keeping off enemy assaults, her plea paperwork stated. One witness, who went by means of navy coaching as a woman, stated Fluke-Ekren later instructed her that “it was vital to kill the kaffar,” the Arabic phrase for infidels, the paperwork stated.

As male fighters had been shedding floor to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in 2017, the Islamic State-affiliated mayor of Raqqa appointed Fluke-Ekren to steer the all-female Hatiba Nusayba Battalion. Fluke-Ekren’s group offered medical and spiritual lessons, in addition to martial arts coaching. Based on a courtroom doc filed in June, he additionally offered programs in automotive bombing and how you can pack a “bag” of rifles and navy provides.

U.S. District Choose Leonie M. Brinkema imposed the utmost sentence allowed underneath Fluke-Ekren’s plea settlement. The decide stated she didn’t discover Fluke-Ekren’s statements throughout Tuesday’s listening to “solely credible.” Fluke-Ekren stated she solely offered “involuntary” help to Ansar al-Sharia after the Benghazi assaults, and instructed a decide she skilled ladies in Syria to deal with weapons not for terrorist functions, however to assist stop deaths in Syria at dwelling and overseas. teaches ladies self-defense within the occasion that enemy combatants try and sexually assault them.

“The overwhelming majority of my time was spent cooking, cleansing, taking youngsters to docs, making use of antiseptic to scraped knees and mediating sibling disputes,” Fluke-Ekren stated, usually crying throughout her remarks to the decide.

Brinkema stated that instructing ladies and ladies to make use of “loss of life vests” can’t be thought-about self-defense and that she disagrees with Fluke-Ekren’s characterization of herself as a “passive dupe” who was drawn into terrorist actions by her second husband.

Witnesses stated that Fluke-Ekren deliberate numerous assaults with giant numbers of victims, though she by no means carried them out. A girl with ties to the Islamic State instructed investigators that in 2014, Fluke-Ekren had an thought to bomb an American faculty within the Midwest. One among Fluke-Ekren’s daughters instructed US investigators how the previous Kansas mother “defined that she may have gone to a mall in the US, parked a automotive filled with explosives within the basement or storage degree and detonated the explosives. in a car with a cell phone activation gadget.’ Daughter stated Fluke-Ekren considers any assault that does not kill giant numbers of individuals to be a “waste of sources,” based on courtroom paperwork.

“In actuality, Khatiba Nussayeb had barely 100 ladies, together with members assigned as nannies, nurses and cooks,” attorneys Joseph King and Sean Sherlock wrote within the sentencing transient. “The loosely organized group had no official ranks, had no uniforms and weapons, by no means engaged in fight and by no means fired on the enemy.”

In a courtroom submitting in August, Fluke-Ekren’s attorneys stated her claims about committing terrorist assaults in the US had been in response to the “shock and horror of conflict” she skilled after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, or “U.S. or U.S.-led coalition forces” , killed Syrian civilians in bombings and airstrikes.

“In 2015, one among her youngsters was killed and one other severely injured in such an assault on a residential space,” King and Sherlock wrote. “She noticed many associates, neighbors and youngsters killed in related incidents throughout the conflict.”

Attorneys have denied the Fluke-Ekren little one abuse allegations, calling them “inaccurate, exaggerated, hyperbolic and in lots of instances utterly false.” They stated the allegations had been first disclosed to Fluke-Ekren in September.

Parekh stated Fluke-Ekren tried unsuccessfully to kind a ladies’s battalion for years earlier than Islamic State leaders authorized her plans in Raqqa. Fluke-Ekren was not charged with violent conduct, however prosecutors alleged in a sentencing memo that she inspired one other girl to commit suicide and arranged undertake her little one.

Fluke-Ekren selected to not cooperate with U.S. investigators after her arrest, Parekh added.

“This defendant might be a gold mine of intelligence,” Parekh stated. “All of the folks she met with, all of the conspirators she skilled, however she did not cooperate.”

After her second husband was killed in an airstrike, Fluke-Ekren married a drone specialist for the Islamic State who labored “to connect chemical weapons to drones to drop chemical bombs from the air,” based on courtroom data . He additionally died in an airstrike. Fluke-Ekren’s fourth husband was an Islamic State operative in control of defending Raqqa throughout a siege by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on the time he was killed.

Fluke-Ekren stated she left Islamic State in 2019 and surrendered to Syrian authorities in the summertime of 2021 “to guard her youngsters from the hardships of life in war-torn Syria,” her attorneys wrote in a press release. She was extradited to the US in January after 11 years outdoors the US.

One daughter, who spoke at Tuesday’s listening to, claimed Fluke-Ekren pressured her to marry an Islamic State fighter when she was 13 and he was 17. The daughter stated that she was raped by the militants of the “Islamic State”. Fluke-Ekren claimed that her daughter had determined to marry the person.

In a recorded dialog along with his daughter in January 2021, which Parekh performed in courtroom, Fluke-Ekren stated, “You may’t surrender as a result of that is the one time you lose.”

Referring to the deaths of her second husband and 5-year-old son, Fluke-Ekren stated by telephone, “You haven’t any regrets. You are unhappy, however not unhappy – remorse is like hating what you probably did or the selections you made, however when you have a purpose, you understand what you are doing, and you retain transferring in the direction of it, you will don’t have any regrets.”

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