Prosecutor Chris Winneke QC with IS accused Zainab Abdirahman-Khalif (inset)
Prosecutor Chris Winneke QC with IS accused Zainab Abdirahman-Khalif (inset)

Crown: Nurse ‘caught red-handed’ with IS propaganda

A NURSING student who allegedly joined the IS terror group told a friend that authorities had "caught me red-handed" with jihadist propaganda but then insisted, to police, accusations of her membership were "rubbish", a court has heard.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard Zainab Abdirahman-Khalif texted another person saying it was her "destiny" to be in Adelaide because there were few other "Muwahideen" - or followers of IS' ideals - in the state, "just me".

Abdirahman-Khalif, 23, of Mansfield Park, has pleaded not guilty to intentionally being a member of IS, knowing it to be a terrorist organisation, between July 2016 and May 2017.


On Monday, prosecutor Chris Winneke QC said Abdirahman-Khalif had attempted to leave Australia in July 2016 - without telling her family, carrying only hand luggage and just $170 - to travel to IS-controlled regions of Syria and Iraq via Turkey.

He also alleged her membership could be proven through material seized from her phone, which included footage of executions and suicide bombings.

He said it could also be proven by her singing of "nasheeds" - or songs praising IS' goals - her use of its "Telegraph" messenger app and her swearing of loyalty to the group.

Continuing his opening address on Tuesday, Mr Winneke said much of that evidence had been gathered by listening devices placed in and around Abdirahman-Khalif's home.

"In September 2016, a couple of days after a search warrant was executed, she was recorded in a one-sided conversation about what had occurred," he said.

"She said 'you know, when they knocked on the front door, I had deleted the Telegraph messenger … God loves me, praise is to be to God'," he said.

"She was recorded in conversation with another person talking about the seizure of materials from her house, deleting Telegraph 'instantly', deleting her photos and videos, sending material to others before deleting it.

"She said 'the men caught me red-handed'."

Abdirahman-Khalif is further alleged to have been in contact with a three-woman IS cell that carried out, and died during, a knife and petrol bomb attack on a police station in Mombasa, Kenya.


Mr Winneke said she had been recorded praising one of those women as being "wise" and "helping her hide passports and such in the house" by "giving her ideas".

He said that, in February 2017, Abdirahman-Khalif willingly attended an interview with Australian Federal Police.

"She said it was rubbish that she was a member of IS, and that there was no reason she had her citizenship certificate with her when she attempted to travel," he said.

"She said she was the only person who used her phone … she was asked about the nasheeds, she said they were from the (Telegraph) channels.

"She said she did not know how images of beheadings and things like that had got onto her phone."

Mr Winneke said the term "Muwahideen" was used, by members of IS, to refer to themselves.

"On February 18, 2017, the defendant was sending a text to another person," he said.

"In that discussion, concerning her being in Adelaide, she wrote 'it was my destiny to be here, sis', followed by a sad smiley face (emoji).

"She wrote 'there's not a lot of Muwahideen, just me."

The trial, before Justice David Peek and a jury, continues.