HAMMOND — The widow of an ISIS terrorist in federal custody for allegedly lying to the FBI now faces new charges of conspiring to provide material support and aiding and abetting the terrorist organization, according to a superseding indictment filed this week in U.S. District Court.
Samantha “Sally” Elhassani, 32, of Elkhart, first appeared before U.S. District Court Magistrate John E. Martin on July 25, pleading not guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI.
Elhassani is accused of conspiring with others from fall 2014 through summer 2015 to provide personnel, money, tactical gear and other material support and resources to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, court records show.
Between March 23, 2015 and April 7, 2015, Elhassani also aided and abetted “Individual A” and “Individual B,” by providing them tactical gear and funds “for their use in fighting for ISIS,” court records state.
“My office is committed to aggressively pursuing and prosecuting those who support designated terrorist organizations such as ISIS. This indictment is an example of that commitment,” U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch said in a statement Thursday. “The indictment alleges that Elhassani traveled abroad and provided funds and supplies for use by two ISIS fighters. The seriousness of the charges reflect the gravity of Elhassani’s alleged conduct.”
In April, Elhassani painted herself in an interview with PBS’ “Frontline” as a reluctant wife of a ISIS terrorist who was forced to move with her family to Syria, where her husband became a ISIS sniper in the midst of a long-simmering civil war.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is a militant group that gained control of large parts of Syria and Iraq four years ago. Hundreds of Americans traveled to fight for militants. U.S.-backed forces in the Middle East have expelled the terrorists from most of that territory during months of heavy fighting.
Her husband was killed and she was detained by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces after fleeing with her U.S.-citizen children and returned to the United States and arrested by federal agents.
A federal grand jury indicted her in March with lying to the FBI and only made the charge public last month. That same month, Elhassani was transferred from the SDR’s custody to U.S. law enforcement and charged in the Northern District of Indiana.
Elhassani’s children, all minors, were reportedly in the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services as of July.
She is one of two defendants associated with ISIS who have been brought to U.S. District Court in the area.
Marlonn Hicks, 32, of Crown Point, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for attempting to sponsor a terrorist attack in America — an attack that prosecutors say was inspired by the June 2016 attack on the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida.
Hicks pleaded guilty in fall 2016 to sending bomb-making instructions online earlier that year to a government informant with the intent that an attack be carried out in the name of ISIS.