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Appeals Court adjourns terror-related cases

Defendants face charges of joining terrorist groups and spreading extremist ideologies

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Hearing in the case of an Emirati man, A.A.A., charged with attempting to join Daesh, was adjourned to June 13 when a ruling will be issued, the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeals said on Wednesday.

Salem Saeed, lawyer of the defendant, told the court that his client had been a drug abuser, who underwent physical and psychological rehabilitation, but never attempted to join any terrorist organisation.

“Investigations and court documents showed no evidence that the defendant has ever tried to join terrorist groups of Daesh or Al Qaida,” the lawyer told the court, and produced a certificate from a rehabilitation centre.

The lawyer demanded that the defendant be acquitted of all charges and alternatively sought mercy from the court on the basis that he was now recovering from drug abuse.

The judge set June 13 for pronouncing the verdict.

Convicted terrorists face capital punishment or life imprisonment and fines of up to Dh100 million, according to the UAE’s Anti-Terrorism Law.

Another Emirati, K.S.A.S., 30, also charged with attempting to join Daesh and Al Qaida in Iraq and Syria, had his case adjourned to June 13, when a sentence will be given.

The man is also charged with promoting terrorist ideology of these terrorist organisations among Emirati students during their study in the United States.

His lawyer told the court the defendant had been a distinguished student and never tried to communicate with any member of these terrorist organisations.

The lawyer demanded that the defendant be acquitted of all charges and sought mercy from the court on the basis that he was a successful student and graduate who never violated any ant-terrorism laws.

In a third case, an Emirati, S.T.M.M., 40, is facing the charge of running social media accounts for spreading terrorist ideology of Daesh and Ansar Al Sharia terrorist groups in Yemen.

The man is also charged with attacking leaders of the UAE and Saudi Arabia and attempting to harm relations between the UAE and Egypt.

The court adjourned the hearing in his case to May 31, when a lawyer would be appointed for the defendant.

The court adjourned four other cases in which defendants were petitioned to be sent to counselling centres to May 31.

Under the anti-terrorism laws, if a person is found to be susceptible to terrorist or extremist ideology, he is referred to one of the counselling centres based on a court ruling and a request by public prosecution.

These centres provide intensive religious and welfare counselling in jails in a programme targeted against future threats posed by those holding extremist views, according to the law.