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Trump says U.S. won't allow former ISIS recruit to return for refuge

Trump says U.S. won't allow former ISIS recruit to return for refuge

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HOOVER, Ala. (CIRCA via WBMA) -- An Alabama woman who fled to Syria to join the terrorist group ISIS and campaign for violence in her home country pleaded to be allowed back to the United States in an interview with ABC News.

But Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said she won't be allowed back in. President Donald Trump later tweeted that the decision came at his urging.

Hoda Muthana has told western journalists she now realized she was wrong to join ISIS. Her perspective was made clearer after the birth of her son.

"I don't have the ideology anymore but I'm just traumatized from my experience," said Muthana from a Syrian refugee camp where she lives with her 18-month-old son. The country has been torn apart by ISIS and a civil war.

U.S. based Attorney Hassan Shibly says Muthana is ready to pay the penalty for her actions but wants freedom and safety for the son she had with an ISIS fighter who has since died. Muthana claims she was forced to marry two ISIS fighters during her time in Syria. Both were killed in the fighting.

Muthana fled her home in Hoover in late 2014 before resurfacing in Syria after being recruited by ISIS on Twitter. She was 19-years-old. Muthana used social media to advocate violence against the United States. Shibly says Muthana was brainwashed and now could have valuable intelligence for U.S. forces.

"I can tell them that now I've changed and now I'm a mother and now I have none of the ideology. My dad sees it when I speak to him. My lawyer sees it when I speak to him and hopefully everyone will see it when I get back," she told ABC News.

A U.K. teen who sought to return home after a similar experience was stripped of her citizenship. Shibly argued Muthana was brainwashed and now could have valuable intelligence for U.S. forces.

"Certainly they'd (federal prosecutors) have to have more evidence than just a tweet," said John Carroll, a professor at Samford's Cumberland School of Law and former federal judge when asked about the potential for criminal charges.

"Again we just don't know what evidence there might be and we don't know what the interest of the government might be. They may be perfectly happy with getting her back in the United States, getting a minimal sentence on one of those charges and being done with it."

Carroll said Muthana could be charged with providing material assistance to a terrorist organization or treason.

"Obviously this is not a death penalty offense I don't think but you're looking at substantial time."

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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