Milan court condemns Italian ‘jihadi family’

Milan court condemns Italian 'jihadi family'
Maria Giulia Sergio, the 28-year-old Italian who joined Isis last year. Screengrab: Corriere della Sera
In one of Italy's most closely watched terrorism cases a sentence of five years and four months was handed down to the sister of the woman thought to be Italy's first female jihadi.

Maria Giulia Sergio, who changed her name to Fatima Az Zahara, is among Italy's highest profile foreign fighters. She left for Syria with her Albanian husband in September 2014.

La Repubblica reported that Sergio's sister, Marianna, was sentenced to five years and four months in jail, while Sergio's father and five of her husband's relatives are expected to receive sentences of between two and three years in hearings scheduled to continue in April.

In July last year, the couple's relatives were arrested as part of Italy’s anti-terrorism sweep. Sergio's family had sold their furniture and applied for passports before being arrested for “organizing a journey for terrorist purposes” – an offence which was applied for the first time in this case.

Her mother died the day after the arrest.

Sergio is still thought to be in Syria with the Isis terrorist group and was charged in absentia with “international terrorism”, while her sister Marianna was sentenced to five years and four months.

In a chilling Skype interview with Corriere della Sera, Sergio said that she had tried to persuade her parents to join Isis, because “they could have a good life here”.

A former student at the University of Milan, she described the Islamic State – where women have been raped and forced into sexual slavery – as the “perfect country”, where people respect human rights.

The sentence was decided by Milan judge Donatella Banci Buonamici.