(Reuters) – A second American woman has been arrested and charged in connection with an alleged plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist who had lampooned the Prophet Mohammad, U.S. authorities said on Friday.
The U.S. Justice Department said Jamie Paulin Ramirez, 31, was arrested on Friday in Philadelphia after voluntarily flying from a country it did not specify. She had been arrested in Ireland last month, but later released as authorities investigated an alleged plot to kill the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.
A U.S. grand jury indicted Ramirez as a second defendant in the case against another American, Colleen LaRose who is also known as “JihadJane”. LaRose was accused of plotting to kill the Swedish man and using the Internet to enlist co-conspirators.
Ramirez was charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and if convicted, she could face up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. LaRose is facing additional charges and could face life in prison.
U.S. authorities have become increasingly concerned about Americans becoming radicalized by militant groups and being drawn in to participate in potential terrorism plots.
Two men in Ireland have been charged over the alleged plot to murder Vilks, who had drawn the Prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog. That drew offense by many Muslims and an Iraqi group linked to al Qaeda in 2007 had offered a $100,000 reward for his murder.
LaRose, 46, was arrested in October and charged in March for the alleged plot and allegedly recruiting people online to wage “violent jihad”, or holy war, in South Asia and Europe.
She had also boasted that appearance — a blond-haired white woman — would help her blend in and avoid detection by authorities, prosecutors had charged. LaRose has pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court in Philadelphia.
The new indictment unsealed on Friday said Ramirez traded email messages with LaRose last year and was invited to attend a training camp in Europe.
Ramirez went to Europe in September with her young son “with the intent to live and train with jihadists”, the indictment said. The day Ramirez arrived she married an unnamed co-conspirator whom she had never met in person, it said.
Her parents had told Reuters in March that their daughter had converted to Islam last year, married an Algerian man, and had been lured to Europe by online extremists.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)