Islamic State terror supporter Zainab Abdirahman-Khalif released from the Adelaide jail
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An Adelaide woman who swore allegiance to terrorist group Islamic State (IS) has been released from prison after serving her sentence, but will remain the subject of a federal control order.
Zainab Abdirahman-Khalif, a 26-year-old former nursing student, was intercepted by police in 2016 as she tried to leave Australia on a one-way ticket to Turkey.
She was found guilty by a jury in 2018 of intentionally being a member of Islamic State.
That conviction was overturned in 2019 on appeal, and she was released — but her acquittal was quashed in October by the High Court, and she was sent back to prison to serve out the remaining 205 days of her three-year sentence.
The High Court found that she had taken intentional steps to join the group, and reinstated her conviction for being an IS member.
“[This] included swearing allegiance to the Caliph, and answering the call to go to Sham to serve in support of the jihadis by attempting to fly to Turkey by one-way flight without informing her family and without the resources to return,” the High Court said in its judgment.
The Department for Correctional Services confirmed Abdirahman-Khalif was released from Adelaide Women’s Prison yesterday after completing her sentence.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has confirmed it sought a control order in relation to Abdirahman-Khalif, which was approved on Wednesday.
“The Federal Court of Australia approved the AFP’s application for an interim control order in relation to this individual,” an AFP spokesperson said.
During her trial, South Australia’s Supreme Court heard hundreds of audio files and videos associated with IS were found on her phone, including vision of buildings being blown up, captives being executed and dead bodies on the ground.
Abdirahman-Khalif was also in communication with three young African women who carried out a bombing in Mombasa, Kenya, in September 2016, for which IS later claimed responsibility.
During a hearing after her 2019 acquittal, the AFP told a court she had “advanced notice” of that attack.
Lawyer James Caldicott, who represented Abdirahman-Khalif during her appeal, said it was now her intention to “move on” and “get on with her life”.
“In my view she is not a risk to the public,” he said.
“There was no suggestion by anyone as far as I’m concerned that she was likely to commit any sort of politically motivated violence.
“It’s been a very long process.”