UAE Security court finds Al Qaeda group members guilty

Fifteen men received various sentences and four, who were tried in absentia, were sentenced to life in prison.

ABU DHABI // A group of men who created an Al Qaeda affiliate in the UAE and sent fighters to Syria were found guilty on Tuesday at the state security division of the Federal Supreme Court.

Of the 15 men – nine Emiratis, four with Comoros Island passports and two Syrians – four were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The four are Hamdan Hassan, Emirati, 26; Ismail Ali, Emirati, 31; Abdalla Al Blooshi, Emirati, 25; and Abdulhakeem Naseer, Emirati, 35. All were tried in absentia.

Four others were acquitted of all charges.

Syrian Mohammed Esmat, 36, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and a Dh1 million fine. He is accused of convincing others to join the illegal groups, creating a Facebook page to spread information on the groups and jihadists beliefs, as well as collecting and transferring finances and equipment to the groups in Syria while knowing they would be used for terrorist activities.

Witnesses said Esmat had also travelled to Syria through Turkey to send the equipment and donations. He travelled with the fighters from the UAE to make sure they arrive safely in Syria.

Abdulla Al Blooshi, 28, of the Comoros Islands, also was sentenced to 15 years, for joining the groups and convincing others to join. He collected alms and aided in their transfer to groups in Syria.

Adel Al Raesi, 36, and Omran Al Blooshi, 26, both Emirati, were sentenced to 10 years for joining the groups.

Marwan Al Blooshi, 24, and Ayed Al Blooshi, 26, were sentenced to seven years for creating a bomb and detonating it in the UAE, causing harm to humans and polluting the environment. Ayed Al Blooshi was also fined Dh15,000 for owning an unlicensed gun.

It was previously argued by his lawyer, Jassim Al Naqbi, that the gun fired blanks and is usually used for celebrations, therefore he did not require a license.

Syrian Samer Ghattas received a three-year sentence for joining the Al Qaeda affiliates and cooperating in terrorist acts. He was also convicted of convincing others to join and for providing financial help.

All the defendants were accused of joining Jabhat Al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham, subsidiaries of Al Qaeda that fighting the Assad regime in Syria.

It was said in court that the men had received military training with members of ISIL in Syria.

A member of the prosecution said the group had also created a similar group in the UAE called Al Nasr Al Qadem, which translates to Impending Victory.

The men who were convicted of creating and detonating a bomb said they had only been playing with fireworks and did not harm anyone.

One man was accused of running a Facebook page to spread information about the groups.

Judge Mohammed Al Jarrah Al Tenaiji requested the closure of the websites, and the confiscation of all objects marked as evidence including Ayed Al Blosshi’s unlicensed gun.

The defendants denied all charges in court. The foreigners will be deported after serving their prison sentences.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae

Published: December 9, 2014 04:00 AM

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