One man admits plans for terror group and caliphate
ABU DHABI // One of 38 people accused of trying to form an ISIL-style caliphate in the country stunned his co-defendants by admitting the charges.
Forty-one men are on trial – three in their absence – in the State Security Division of the Federal Supreme Court on charges of setting up a terrorist group called Shabab Al Manara.
On Monday, they were asked to enter pleas to the charges.
All but one pleaded not guilty. Defendant M A R confessed, prompting co-defendants to shout and curse at him.
The court heard that the group followed extremist ideologies with the aim of carrying out terror attacks in the UAE. The prosecution claimed that they wanted to harm the safety of the population and the country’s leaders, eventually taking over the country and setting up a caliphate. It was alleged they also created, and smuggled firearms, ammunition and explosives into the country.
Prosecutors said the men also helped other members of the group to join Jabhat Al Nusra and ISIL.
The group ran a website promoting extremist ideologies and published information that aimed to disrupt peaceful society in the UAE.
Three defendants were separately charged with being members of Jabhat Al Nusra and ISIL.
One defendant, A S N, was alleged to have re-entered the country after joining ISIL and then participated in terrorist attacks in Syria.
Another, K A K, was accused of possessing an air pistol and bullets without a permit, while M H B was accused of possessing an unauthorised Taser gun.
Two other defendants, A K A and H M B, were accused of possessing air rifles without a permit.
Lawyers requested that witnesses attend the next hearing and for bail to be granted to some of the defendants.
Judge Falah Al Hajeri refused bail but requested medical check-ups for the defendants and transfer to regular prisons.
The case was adjourned to November 16, when two witnesses are expected to testify.
The defendants are being tried under the country’s anti-terror, weapons, technology crimes and environmental protection laws. Under terrorist legislation, anyone convicted of establishing or managing a secret organisation may be sentenced to life imprisonment or execution.
Updated: October 26, 2015 04:00 AM