US woman who plotted to kill Swedish cartoonist sentenced to 10 years

Self-dubbed 'Jihad Jane' planned an attack against a cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Muhammad offensively

This June 26, 1997 file booking photo provided by the Tom Green County Jail in San Angelo, Texas, shows Colleen R. LaRose, self-dubbed as "Jihad Jane."
Tom Green County Jail, via AP

A U.S. woman involved in a plot to kill a Swedish artist who had offended Muslims has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after telling a judge she was once obsessed with extremist ideology.

Fifty-year-old Colleen LaRose had called herself "Jihad Jane" online and agreed to kill artist Lars Vilks over his series of drawings depicting the prophet Muhammad as a dog.

She faced a potential life term. But the judge accepted a government request to reduce the sentence because of her extensive cooperation with investigators.

Prosecutors still asked for decades in prison, saying she remains dangerous.

Both sides agree that LaRose was isolated and endured harsh abuse throughout her life.

Larose told the judge she became obsessed with religious extemism, saying she was "in a trance" and thought about it from morning to night.

"I don't want to be into jihad no more," she said.

She could be out of prison in a little over four years, given the more than four years she has already served and the potential for time off for good behavior.

U.S. investigators say she participated in a 2009 conspiracy to target Vilks over his drawings. A group of Iraqi Muslims had offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who killed Vilks, who was never attacked.

The Justice Department said Ali Charaf Damache, who was living in Ireland, recruited LaRose and another U.S. woman via extremist websites.

Damache married the other woman, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, on the day she arrived in Ireland.

LaRose left the terror cell in Ireland after about six weeks because she "grew frustrated because her co-conspirators were not ready for action," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said Monday.

LaRose returned to the U.S. in 2009 to surrender, becoming one of the few women in the country ever charged with terrorist activities. Her arrest was kept secret and the indictment was unsealed only after Paulin-Ramirez and the six others were rounded up in Ireland months later.

Paulin-Ramirez and another co-defendant, teen Mohammad Hassan Khalid, are scheduled to be sentenced this week.

Public defender Mark Wilson said LaRose has come to understand the true, peaceful tenets of Islam and said, "there's virtually no chance that she would ever be involved in violent jihad ever again."

Al Jazeera and wire services

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