United Arab Emirates

Death penalty for murder; Drug offences;Rape; treason; aggravated robbery; terrorism

Rare mass ‘terror’ trial opens in the UAE

Mass trials on terrorism charges are rare in the UAE which has largely been spared the Islamic militancy that has hit other Arab states
A rare mass trial of 41 radical Islamists accused of seeking to overthrow the government and links with “terrorists” opened on Monday in the United Arab Emirates, official media reported.
WAM news agency said the hearing at the state security court in Abu Dhabi was devoted to procedural measures, including the appointment of lawyers.
The judge then adjourned the trial to September 28.
Earlier this month, the prosecutor general accused the defendants, who include both Emiratis and foreigners, of plotting attacks aimed at trying to “seize power and establish a caliphate”.
He also accused them of creating a group “with a terrorist, takfiri (Sunni Muslim extremist) ideology”.
Takfiris regard Muslims who do not follow their extreme interpretation of Islam as apostates who can be killed.
The Islamic State group, which has set up a “caliphate” on territory it has captured in Syria and Iraq, follows the takfiri ideology, as does Al-Qaeda.
It was not immediately clear if the 41 suspects were accused of links to either group.
However, the prosecutor has said they were in touch with “foreign terrorist organisations… to help them achieve their goal”.
The defendants could face the death penalty if found guilty.
They are also accused of setting up cells to train members in handling weapons and explosives in preparation for attacks in the UAE.
Authorities reported their arrest on August 2 and prosecutors immediately levelled the accusations against them and said they would face trial.
Such mass trials on terrorism charges are rare in the UAE which has largely been spared the Islamic militancy that has hit other Arab states.
The UAE is part of a US-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against IS in Syria since September last year.
The wealthy Gulf state has upped security measures in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
In July, it adopted tougher anti-terror legislation and introduced the death penalty for crimes linked to religious hatred and “takfiri groups”.
These measures were taken a week after an Emirati woman convicted of the jihadist-inspired murder of a US schoolteacher was put to death by firing squad in a rare execution approved by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
Source: Agence France-Presse, August 24, 2015



UAE to try 41 on ‘terror’ charges

Emiratis among 41 to be tried in Federal Supreme Court on charges of setting up terrorist group
The Public Prosecution has referred 41 men of various nationalities, including Emiratis, to the Federal Supreme Court on charges of setting up a terrorist organisation, Salem Saeed Kubaish, UAE’s Attoney General said on Sunday.
“The defendants were charged with setting up and running a terrorist organisation named Shabab Al Manarah “The Minaret Youths” which upholds terrorist thought with the intent to terrorist acts inside the country and endanger its security and peace and lives of its people including their leaders,” Kubaish said in a statement carried by state news agency WAM.
Kubaish said that the suspects were also charged with intending to inflict damages to private and public properties to eventually take over authority to set up a so-called Caliphate State in line with their extremist thought.
“To carry out their terrorist acts, the suspects procured fire arms, ammunitions and explosives necessary, using funds they collected for this purpose and got in touch with foreign terrorist organisations and groups. These groups provided these suspects with funds and people to achieve their goals inside the cpuntry,” Kubaish said.
Convicted terrorists will face capital punishment, life imprisonment and fines of up to Dh100 million, according to a federal law to combat terrorism, which was endorsed last year.
The law ushered in new security measures to counter a sweeping range of crimes deemed acts of terror at a time when international efforts are being mustered to fight the global menace.
The law defines a terrorist offence as “any action or inaction made a crime by this law and every action or inaction made a crime by any other law if they are carried out for a terrorist cause”.
Provoking terror among a group of people, killing or causing harm to people or property, and opposing the state are also considered violations under the law.
It also rules capital or life imprisonment for actions such as impersonating a public figure and wrongfully claiming to be on assignment for a public service. A person found guilty of attacking or endangering the life of the President, Vice President, or any of the rulers and their families could also receive the death sentence.
A terrorist intent is established by a direct or indirect terrorist result or when an offender knows that the action or inaction leads, in its nature or context, to terrorist results.
Kubaish said the suspects set up an organisational structure including committees and cells with specific tasks. “A leader was appointed to oversee the terrorist organisation, issue orders, instructions, roles and duties for each committee. He was also assigned to set policies. His deputy was assigned to follow up implementation of these policies,” Kubaish said.
The Attorney General added these committees were assigned to recruit young Emiratis and instill extremist thought into them and train them on militant acts and manufacturing of explosives at certain camping sites.
They suspects, the Attorney said, also disseminated audio and video materials ton the internet to spread their terrorist thought.
According to the anti-terrorism law, terrorist results include inciting fear among a group of people, killing them, or causing them serious physical injury, or inflicting substantial damage to property or the environment, or disrupting security of the international community, or opposing the country, or influencing the public authorities of the country or another country or international organisation while discharging its duties, or receiving a privilege from the country or another country or an international organisation.
The law also establishes counselling centres where convicted terrorists will receive intensive religious and welfare counselling in jails in a programme targeted against future threats posed by those holding extremist views, according to the law.
Every legal person whose representatives, managers or agents commit or contribute to the commission of any of the terrorist offences provided in the law, would receive a fine ranging from Dh1 million to Dh100 million.
A committee to be named The National Committee for Combating Terrorism will be established, and a decision towards its establishment will be made by the Cabinet.
“Whoever seeks or communicates with a foreign state, terrorist organisation or with anyone who works for their interests, to commit any terrorist act, shall be punished with imprisonment for life while the death penalty will be imposed if the terrorist act has been carried out,” the law says.
Source: Gulf News, August 2, 2015

UAE imposes harsh penalties for religious crimes

July 23, 2015

he United Arab Emirates on Monday announced new legislation imposing harsh sentences including the death penalty for crimes related to religious hatred and Sunni extremism.
A presidential decree criminalises any act that stirs religious hatred and also prohibits discrimination “on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin”.
Offenders risk up to 10 years in prison or the death penalty if convicted of “takfirism” or Sunni Muslim extremism, according to the text of the decree distributed by the official WAM news agency.
Proponents of such ideology adopted by Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups describe as infidels non-Muslims as well as Muslims who do not share their beliefs.
The oil-rich Gulf state last year brought in strict new legislation and listed 83 groups classified as “terrorist”, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
Source: Agence France-Presse, July 21, 2015


UAE: Woman executed for killing American teacher

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The United Arab Emirates executed by firing squad a UAE woman convicted of terrorism early today after the militant-inspired killing of an American kindergarten teacher in December 2014, the state news agency WAM reported.
Ala’a Badr Abdullah al-Hashemi, 31, was sentenced to death a year ago for stabbing Romanian-born Ibolya Ryan, a mother of 11-year-old twins, in the toilet of an Abu Dhabi shopping mall and attempting to bomb an American-Egyptian doctor. 
A CCTV image released by Abu Dhabi police on December 3, 2014
Hashemi was caught on CCTV cameras walking inside the mall wearing a full black burqa. Later, she was seen running to an elevator and exiting the mall. Her image in the footages earned her the nickname “Reem Ghost.”
Hashemi was also convicted of setting up a social media account to spread militant ideology with the intention of undermining the government and of giving money to militant organizations for attacks, WAM reported.
She stabbed Ryan inside a mall bathroom “with an intention to kill,” WAM reports.
The murder happened two months after the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi informed U.S. citizens of a circulating online message inciting attacks against American and other foreign teachers, CNN reports.
Hashemi admitted to the murder, saying she was acting out of vengeance for her husband who was taken into custody for suspected militant connections.
She also said her actions were driven by a mental illness, which made her act like she was possessed by evil spirits. However, a medical investigation on her condition revealed that she was sane, according to Reuters.

Police said last year Hashemi had become radicalized over the internet and had not been targeting an American in particular, but was looking for a foreigner to kill at random.


UAE woman gets death penalty for killing U.S. teacher

A United Arab Emirates court sentenced an Emirati woman to death on Monday after convicting her of the jihadist-inspired murder of an American teacher, Abu Dhabi newspaper The National reported.

See also: Abu Dhabi mall murder suspect found to be ‘mentally stable’

See also: UAE police detain suspect in U.S. woman killing

Alaa Bader al-Hashemi was found guilty of stabbing to death teacher Ibolya Ryan, 47, in a shopping mall toilet, as well as “creating a handmade bomb” she placed in front of an Egyptian-American doctor’s home, the paper said.

The ruling was made by the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi, which means it cannot be appealed.

The attacks took place within hours of each other in the UAE capital on December 1. Hashemi was arrested by Abu Dhabi CID during a raid at her home three days after the incident.

Hashemi “was also found guilty of sending money to Al-Qaeda in Yemen, knowing the funds would be used in terrorist acts,” The National said.

Hashemi, surrounded by four police officers, “showed no emotion as the verdict and sentence were announced,” the daily said.

“As she was led from court she smiled and waved at her father and brother, who were in court to witness the proceedings.”

International media have been denied access to her trial. which began in March.

Hashemi had asked the court to provide her with psychological help, saying she had “unreal visions” and would see “ghost-like people” due to a chronic mental illness.

The court ordered psychiatric tests which it said showed she was aware of her actions.

UAE: New death penalty hearing for Abu Dhabi motorist who ran over boy

April 18, 2014

The death sentence on a man who deliberately ran over and killed a 12-year-old boy has been overturned.

The Court of Cassation sent the case back to the Court of Appeal to reconsider the sentence.

The driver, a Pakistani expatriate, had been sitting in his car in Musaffah in October 2012 when 3 boys opened the door and threw in a pile of rubbish.

The children ran away and were joined by a 4th boy, Hazaa Khaled from Sudan. The driver believed Hazaa had thrown the rubbish, drove after the boy and knocked him down.

He denied denied intending to kill the boy, and said he meant only to scare him and was driving at only 40kph. However, scientific evidence showed the car’s impact was so powerful that it crushed the boy’s skull.

Abu Dhabi Criminal Court found the man guilty of manslaughter and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay blood money of Dh200,000 and compensation of Dh21,000 to the boy’s parents.

The case then went to the appeals court, which sentenced him to death.

(source: The National)

UAE: Footballer’s death penalty commuted in murder case

February 19, 2014: Emirati football player Fayez Juma, who was sentenced to death, has been pardoned by the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. He has been sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to fast for two consecutive months, as per Shariah law.

Fayez’s lawyer Salem Obaid Sahooh told Khaleej Times that his client has already completed three years in jail and fasted for two months. “The ruling will be sent to The Sharjah Central Public Prosecution and then to the jail, following which he will be released.”

The victim’s family pardoned the football player in an official statement in front of the head of the Sharjah Shariah Court, after which it was referred to the Abu Dhabi Federal Supreme Court.

In June, 2011, the Abu Dhabi Supreme Court overturned a Sharjah Appeal Court acquittal and sentenced Fayez to death for murdering his neighbour in a case dating back to 2008. After the ruling, Sahooh filed a review petition, following which the victim’s family pardoned him “for the sake of God”. They did not receive any blood-money.

According to police reports, three men, including Fayez, overpowered Jasem Yousif, during a fight at a parking lot in Sharjah’s Riffa area on May 16, 2008. He was later stabbed to death.

He was first convicted by the Sharjah Court of First Instance on March 25, 2009, and was sentenced to death along with six other defendants, including his brother.

On October 26, 2009, the Sharjah Court of Appeal acquitted him and another player, Mohammed Najeeb, but upheld the death sentence against his brother Musa Juma and Mohammed Bilal — both former players.

Following his acquittal, Fayez re-joined Sharjah FC’s training sessions, but the family of the deceased filed an appeal and he was rearrested on May 17, 2010. Meanwhile, the player’s defence lawyer contested his arrest.

On October 28 last year, the Sharjah Court of Appeal reduced his death sentence to a year in jail and fined him Dh10,000.

(Source: khaleejtimes.com)