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Woman whose husband fought for IS charged with lying

July 25, 2018

An Elkhart woman who says she was held in a Kurdish detention camp with her four children after her husband died fighting for the Islamic State group has appeared in federal court to face a charge of lying to the FBI.

Ryan Holmes, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Hammond, said 32-year-old Samantha Elhassani was advised Wednesday of the charge against her and is due back in court Thursday for a hearing to determine if she’ll have a private attorney or public defender.

Elhassani told Frontline PBS and the BBC in April that during a 2015 vacation in Turkey, her Moroccan husband tricked her into traveling with their children to Syria, where he became an IS militant and died fighting. She and the children ended up in a Kurdish detention camp and were transferred to U.S. custody.

Court documents unsealed Tuesday show Elhassani was indicted in March on the federal false statements charge, but the charge does not include details of the allegations.

The couple’s four minor children are in the custody of Indiana’s child welfare services.

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