Jihadi ‘pin-up poster girls’ who fled Austria to join ISIS ‘face 15 years in jail if they return’
- Samra Kesinovic was 16 and friend Sabina Selimovic 15 when they left Vienna
- The pair fled to Syria in April 2014 to marry and have children with ISIS fighters
- They went on to tote AK-47s surrounded by men with guns in IS propoganda
- Austrian prosecutors could bring charges against them if they are to return
Two young Jihadi women dubbed ‘pin-up poster girls’ after they fled Austria to join ISIS have been warned they could face 15 years in jail if they return.
Samra Kesinovic was just 16 and her friend Sabina Selimovic was 15 when they left Vienna to join the terrorists in Syria in April 2014.
They both married and had children with ISIS fighters, as well as featuring in propaganda for the terror group – toting AK-47s surrounded by fighters.
The pair had been reported dead in December but according to local media Austrian intelligence claim those reports are false.
Samra Kesinovic, who was 16 when she fled Austria in April 2014, pictured in Vienna (left) and in Syria (right)
Samra Kesinovic appears in front of two masked fighters all holding AK-47s in this photograph which was circulated on IS propaganda websites
Sabina Selimovic, who was 15 when she left Vienna, pictured at home (left) and in traditional Islamic headdress (right)
Moussa Al-Hassan Diaw of DERAD, an Austrian deradicalisation organisation, said Samra and Sabina would face up to 15 years behind bars if they return to Austria.
He said the ISIS brides’ sentences would depend on the charges which could range from spreading terrorist propaganda to murder.
Mr Al-Hassan Diaw said their appearance on ISIS websites in photos promoting jihad would help to support the charge.
Furthermore, Samra and Sabina’s children would be taken into custody by the Austrian state if they did return to the country.
Mr Al-Hassan Diaw said the children could eventually be put in the care of relatives living in Austria if officials were satisfied they had no extremist Islamist sympathies.
Samra and Sabina would also be grilled to determine how deep terrorist ideology was rooted in them as the first step in a deradicalisation programme.
The deradicalisation expert said it was often the case that IS returnees were disillusioned by their stay in the ‘caliphate’ but still firmly believed in the Jihadi cause.
Pin-ups: The two teenagers became ISIS’s ‘jihadi poster girls’ after arriving in Syria
‘Don’t look for us’: The teenagers, pictured in Syria, disappeared from Austria in April 2014, leaving a note telling their parents they had gone to fight for Allah
And even after a successful deradicalisation, a lengthy monitoring process by intelligence agencies would necessary because of the substantial risk of a relapse.
The Austrian Foreign Ministry is said to be keen to help women and children from Austria return home from Syria, despite vehement opposition from politicians such as Interior Minister Herbert Kickl of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPO).
Sabina and Samra were recruited by hate preacher Ebu Tejma, the alias of 35-year-old Bosnian-born religious leader Mirsad Omerovic, who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in Austria.
Prosecutors said Ebu Tejma travelled Europe ‘like a pop star on tour’, driving top-of-the-range sports cars bought with the money he raised from believers.
He was convicted in July 2016 of recruiting more than 160 fighters for IS in Syria.
The girls are both children of Bosnian refugees who fled to Austria in the 1990s to escape the war in their homeland.
An Islamic preacher from Bosnia living in Vienna, Mirsad Omerovic, known by the Islamic name of ‘Ebu Tejma’, was responsible for the radicalization of the two young girls
They reportedly left a note for their families which read: ‘Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah and we will die for him.’
Shortly after arriving in Syria, Sabina, speaking through text messages to a French magazine, insisted she was enjoying life in the war-torn region where she felt free to practice her religion.
She said her husband was a soldier and added: ‘Here I can really be free. I can practice my religion. I couldn’t do that in Vienna.’