ABU DHABI // A woman has been given the death sentence for the vicious stabbing murder of the American teacher Ibolya Ryan at a mall on Reem Island in December last year.
Alaa Al Hashemi, 30, an Emirati mother of six, was found guilty of stabbing Ryan to death with a large kitchen knife in a toilet stall at Boutik Mall.
Al Hashemi, flanked by four police officers, showed no emotion as the verdict and sentence were announced in the State Security division of the Federal Supreme Court.
As she was escorted from court she smiled and waved at her father and brother.
Paul Ryan, the victim’s former husband with whom she had three children, said: “We pray that justice has been served today. Nothing will return the beautiful and delightful mother of my children.
“But if today’s verdict raises awareness and dissuades another so filled with hate to reconsider, to still her hand, something of worth will yet be salvaged from this horror, the remains of which my family bears day by day.”
Mr Ryan thanked the “attentive” Royal Family for paying for “the finest of educations” for his three children, allowing them to “maximise their opportunity to make the most of themselves, any parent’s dream – especially Ibolya’s”.
He said his children worked every day to make their mother “proud as she watches over them”.
“We feel deeply the kind wishes and prayers we have received from all over. They support and sustain us, and we are grateful. We wish peace in return to all,” said Mr Ryan.
Al Hashemi was convicted of making a handmade bomb that she planted in front of an apartment owned by an Egyptian-American doctor.
But the bomb failed to detonate.
Al Hashemi was also convicted of using an online account to spread information that ridiculed and harmed the country.
She was found guilty of sending money to Al Qaeda in Yemen, knowing that would be used to fund terrorist acts.
Before announcing the verdict, Judge Falah Al Hajeri said: “The UAE, with the Grace of Allah, over its history has been and will always remain a haven of safety and stability, and it is a model of correlation and societal peace.”
He said that in the past few years “criminal techniques” new to the UAE had been “committed to terrorise and inflict violence”.
“Their purpose is to disturb the overall system of the country and expose society to danger by committing harmful acts. And that is in the implementation of a collective or individual act that harms people, puts their life, freedom or security at risk.
“So when the danger threatens the overall stability of the nation, then it is important to revise and confront the actions, which is why the new anti-terror law was achieved – to combat terrorism and eliminate it.”
The judge ordered the confiscation of all evidence and for the online account Al Hashemi had used to be shut down.
The court ruling will be sent to the President, Sheikh Khalifa, for final approval and ratification.
Verdicts issued by the Federal Supreme Court are final, and not subject to appeal.