Friday 03 April 2020

‘Jihadi bride’ sent for psychiatric tests before trial

Laura Hansen was interviewed on Kurdish TV in July 2016

Laura Hansen on Kurdish TV in July.

A young Dutch mother who took her two children to Syria has been sent for psychiatric assessment before she stands trial.

Laura Hansen, 21, is accused of fighting for Islamic State in the war-torn region. She has been in detention since she landed at Schiphol airport in August, having fled via Kurdish territory. She claimed she was tricked into going to Syria by her husband after the family left for what she believed was a holiday in Turkey.

The prosecution claims Hansen left for Syria of her own free will because she wanted to live under the laws of Islam. In 2015 she withdrew €2000 from her bank account and cancelled her automatic payments, indicating she planned to leave the country permanently, prosecutors told the district court in Rotterdam.

Hansen, who appeared in court dressed in western clothes without a headscarf, was described as a ‘naïve, impressionable woman’ who nevertheless ‘set off full of conviction for the conflict zone’. The prosecution referred to online chat messages in which she defended beheadings by IS.

Hansen’s lawyer called for the court to dismiss the charge of taking part in a terrorist organisation because there was no evidence for it. He said she was prepared to undergo a personality test but wanted to be moved from the terrorism remand centre in Vught.

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