Gang of 41 face trial in UAE over ISIL terror plot

The UAE is to try 41 people on charges of seeking to overthrow the government to set up an ISIL-like 'caliphate', prosecutors said on Sunday. The trial is scheduled to start on August 24.

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ABU DHABI // A gang of 41 people will go on trial this month on charges of plotting to overthrow the federal government and replace it with an ISIL-like “caliphate”.

The group of foreigners and Emiratis are accused of setting up an organisation "with a terrorist, takfiri ideology" to seize power, the Attorney General, Salem Saeed Kubaish, said on Sunday.

A takfiri is a Sunni Muslim who accuses another Muslim of apostasy in a sectarian slur, and takfiris support the use of violence for political ends.

Mr Kubaish said investigations by Public Prosecution had established that the plotters set up and ran a terrorist group called Shabab Al Manara.

Prosecutors say their aim was to carry out terrorist acts, endangering the safety and security of the country and the lives of individuals, including the leadership, and its symbols, with the intention to cause damage to state and private infrastructure, destabilise the country and establish a “caliphate”.

The group are accused of being prepared to use firearms and explosives to achieve their aims.

They are also alleged to have communicated with terrorist and extremist organisations overseas to obtain funding and personnel.

To manage the affairs of the group and to ensure they achieved their objectives, prosecutors say they designed a structure and formed committees and cells, each with specific tasks.

One of the members was nominated to manage the group, oversee their activity, issue orders and instructions, determine the roles and duties of each committee and design the general policies and objectives of the group and the means to achieve them, as well as finding ways to communicate with external fighters and provide them with financial support.

Another member was appointed deputy director, prosecutors say. He was assigned the tasks of supervising departments and following up on the execution of suggestions and events.

The gang are also accused of trying to recruit young Emiratis and corrupt them with takfiri beliefs with the aim of training them to manufacture explosives and carry out terrorist acts.

Prosecutors say the group held training camps to instruct young people in combat and the use of firearms.

Members of the group are also accused of holding cell meetings and recording and copying audio, video and written material to promote their ideology.

They will be tried under the UAE’s most recent anti-terror law, which was enacted in August last year and prohibits any act that provokes terror, kills or causes harm to people or property, or opposes the state or any state organisation.

Anyone convicted of establishing or managing a secret organisation may be sentenced to life imprisonment or execution.

The trial will begin at the state security division of the Federal Supreme Court on Monday, August 24.

* Reporting by Wam