Man accused of terror link

A man abandoned his family in Turkey so he could head to Syria to join a terrorist organisation, the Federal Supreme Court heard on Monday.

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ABU DHABI // A man abandoned his family in Turkey so he could head to Syria to join a terrorist organisation, the Federal Supreme Court heard on Monday.

K T M, 41, an Emirati, is accused of becoming a member of Jabhat Al Nusra, which is affiliated to Al Qaeda, where he received military and security training.

He is also accused of participating in acts of terrorism.

The first witness, O S, a state security officer, told the court that the defendant had been radicalised in 2004 after attending lectures given by an extremist.

“That same year, the defendant had wanted to travel to Iraq but was prohibited.”

In 2013, he said K T M had travelled with his family to Turkey on the pretext of going there to pursue studies.

“We received a letter from the UAE Embassy stating that K T M had gone missing. We then received information that he had entered Syria via Malta,” the officer said.

“After confirming K T M had entered Syria, we received a video of him singing a religious song while wearing the jihadi attire. He had stayed in Syria for eight months, and became a member of Hawk’s Pride battalion. His aim was to participate in the wars in Syria.”

S T, another witness, said the defendant had befriended another Emirati, G S M, who decided to travel from Malta to Syria with him, where they became members of the battalions.

“He informed his family through WhatsApp chat that he was in Syria and, because he was already a military man, was trained for one week instead of a month.”

S T said K T M was injured in an accident that left him in hospital for a month. He then returned to Turkey, where he was arrested by authorities.

K T M’s lawyer, Fahad Al Sabhan, asked the court to call the defendant’s two brothers who had travelled with him to Turkey.

The case was adjourned to June 22 when the prosecution is also expected to present its case.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae