UK teen gets 13-year minimum for British Museum attack plot
LONDON (AP) — An 18-year-old British woman was sentenced to a minimum of 13 years in prison Friday for plotting to attack the popular British Museum in London after failing in her ambition of becoming a jihadi bride in Syria.
Safaa Boular was convicted in June of preparing terrorist acts. Her mother and sister were also convicted of assisting her in a related plot — Britain’s first case involving an all-female Islamic State group-inspired cell.
Prosecutors said Boular was a London schoolgirl when she began plotting a grenade-and-gun attack in messages with an older IS fighter. She hoped to join him in Syria and marry him, but he was killed in 2017.
Boular was arrested in April 2017, along with her sister and mother. The attack plans had been uncovered by British intelligence agents acting as online role-players, and Boular’s family home was bugged.
At London’s Central Criminal Court, judge Mark Dennis sentenced Boular to life with no chance of parole for 13 years. Defense lawyers said she had been manipulated by her older paramour, and had since renounced her militant views.
But the judge said there was “insufficient evidence upon which it would be safe to conclude at this stage that the defendant is a truly transformed individual.”
“However much she may have been influenced and drawn into her extremism, it appeared she knew what she was doing and acted with open eyes,” he said.
Boular’s sister, Rizlaine Boular, and mother, Mina Dich, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and were sentenced earlier for assisting her.
The British Museum houses important artifacts and art works acquired during the heyday of the British Empire, including the Rosetta Stone and sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens.