News Woman gets 7-year jail for helping 15 Kerala youths join Islamic State

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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Kochi on Saturday awarded seven yeas’ rigorous imprisonment to Yasmin Ahmed, a native of Bihar, for helping 15 youths of north Kerala to slip out the country and join extremist outfit Islamic State.

This is the first verdict in an IS-related case in the state. She was arrested from Delhi international airport in July 2016 when she was about to leave the country with her minor son.

Later, the Kerala police made her an accused in the case of 15 missing persons (total 21) who reportedly joined the IS. Later the case was handed over to the NIA.

While delivering the verdict, the court said she was aware of the youths’ plan to join the extremist outfit and helped them. The court examined 52 prosecution witnesses and one defence witness and nearly 50 material objects and found that she was guilty of waging war against the country.

The prosecution said while she was teaching at the Peace International School, she came in contact with Abdul Rashid, the leader of the missing youth from the state.

Yasmin did all the ground work for the youth to slip out of the country and was in touch with Rashid constantly. She was supposed to leave with the others, but her trip was delayed because she could not get travel papers for her son done in time, prosecution said.

Yasmin is reported to be the second wife Rashid. Hailing from Bihar, she was brought up in Saudi Arabia where her parents are settled.

She came to Kerala five years ago with her husband Syed Ahmad after getting a job in Peace International School in Malappuram.

Rashid, who used to train teachers there, soon befriended the couple. Later, the husband fell out with her and left the country. After this, Rashid and Yasmin became close.

The police zeroed in on her after intercepting her communication with Rashid. Police also found that Rs 2 lakh was deposited in her account two weeks before her arrest.

At least 21 persons, including six women and three children, had gone missing from the state in June 2016 and were reported to have joined the IS, sending shockwaves across the country.

Most of the missing persons were well educated and hailed from upper middle class families. At least six were reportedly killed while fighting for the IS in Afghanistan.

Two months back, police had arrested chairman of the Peace School group, M M Akbar for teaching study materials intended to create communal divide.

Rashid was dealing with the public relation activities of the school group that runs 12 schools in Kerala and neighbouring states.