Abu Dhabi: Eleven members of a banned terror group were sentenced to life in prison by the UAE Federal Supreme Court on Sunday.
The court acquitted seven other members of all charges while 23 other members of the Al Manara terrorist group were sentenced to various jail terms.
Out of the total 41 accused on trial, the court found the 34 convicts guilty of plotting to overthrow the government and attempting to set up a Daesh-style caliphate in the UAE.
Apart from the 11 who got life sentences, presiding judge of the Federal Supreme Court Mohammad Jarrah Al Tunaiji handed two members of the terrorist group 15 years in prison. Thirteen men were handed 10 years in jail, two were sentenced to five years in jail while six others got three years in prison.
Four of the convicts are foreign nationals and will be deported after serving their prison terms, while the rest are Emiratis.
The court also ruled to disband the group and its equipment to be confiscated.
Speaking to the court, Judge Al Tunaiji said that terrorism is faced by all states and societies and has become a dangerous phenomenon threatening the social fabric.
“[Terrorist groups] use violence as a means to achieve their goals … terrorism is the most serious crime that takes religion as a pretext to realise its goals. It does not believe in the values of humanity, patriotism nor does it care about legislation or agreements,” said Al Tunaiji.
The presiding judge added the UAE was at the forefront in combating terrorism by enacting Law No 1 of 2004 and then following it up by amendments that are commensurate with the magnitude of the menace.
Mohammad Abdul Latif Al Zarouni and Mansour Ali Al Shahawi, both Emiratis, were sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment.
Khalid Abdullah Kalantar, Abdullah Khalid Abdullah Kalantar, Othman Khalid Abdullah kalantar, Mohammad Hassan Mohammad Darwish Al Beloushi, Ahmad Mohammad Ahmad Yousuf, Abdullah Ebrahim Hassan Abdullah Al Bishr, Abdul Rahman Mohammad Ahmad Dal Al Marzouqi, Abdul Rahman Hussain Ahmad Farawzan Al Marzouqi and Abdul Aziz Ahamd Hajji Esmail, all Emiratis, were also sentenced to life in prison.
Emirati Ganem Saqr Ganem Al Merri and Asem Saeed Khamis Obaid Al Naqbi were handed 15 years in jail.
Mohammad Khalid Abdullah Mohammad Kalantar, Khalid Ahmad Hajji Esmail, Jasem Mohammad Ali Hussain Al Beloushi, Ebrahim Hussain Mohammad Hussain Belshalat, Mohammad Abdullah Abdulrahman Abdullah Ali Al Raisi, Khalil Saeed Ali Shabaan, Hassan Mubarak Salem Musallam Belaith, Saeed Naseeb, Nasser Saleh Abdul Khaleq Salweh Al Afifi, Ahmad Hassan Mohammad Abdul Rahman Al Hammadi, Ezeddin Khaldoun Abdul Aziz Makloutah and Abdullah Ebrahim Mohammad Al Beloushi, all Emiratis, were sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Mohammad Yousuf Abdullah Fat’hallah Ali, Ahmad Mohammad Abdullah Al Mulla, Eisa Juma Abdullah Al Beloushi, Ahmad Mohammad Abdullah Al Khedr, Ali Mohammad Miran Mohammad Al Beloushi and Mansour Mohammad Abdullah Ahmad Al Naqbi, all Emiratis, got three years in jail.
Abed Eisa Al Shaer and Omar Yousuf Mohammad Abdullah Al Janahi, both Emiratis, were sentenced to five years in prison.
Khalid Abdullah Mohammad Kalantar, Mohammad Hassan Darwish, Abdullah Khalid Abdullah Mohammad Kalantar, and Hassan Mubarak Salem Musallam were sentenced to six months in prison for carrying knives in public places.
Ahmad Abdul Rahman Nawab Murad Al Beloushi, Abdul Rahman Hussain Mohammad Hussain Belshalat, Ali Salem Abdul Rahman Nawab Al Balkoushi, Juma Abdul Rahman Murad Ebrahim Al Beloushi, Suhail Ali Eid Ali Al Merri, Abdul Latif Mohammad Abdullah Al Khidr Al Ahmad and Saleh Ebrahim Abdul Rahman Murad Al Beloushi were cleared of all charges.
Ahmad Mohammad Ahmad Yousuf, Khalid Esmail Hajji Esmail, Ezzeddin Khaldoun Abdul Aziz Makhloutah and Abdul Aziz Ahmad Hajji Esmail were ordered to be deported after serving their prison terms.
Members of the organisation were found guilty of smuggling weapons, ammunition and detonators into the UAE to kill people and overthrow the government, the court heard earlier.
Prosecutors have said the suspects are charged with setting up and running terrorist organisation Shabab Al Manara, ‘The Minaret’s Youths’, which upholds a terrorist ideology with the intent to commit terrorist acts in the UAE and endanger the country’s security, peace and lives of its leaders and people.
Salem Saeed Kubaish, UAE’s Attorney-General, said that the suspects were also charged with planning to inflict damage on private and public properties with an aim to eventually seize power to set up a so-called caliphate state in line with their extremist ideology.
“To carry out their terrorist acts, the suspects procured firearms, ammunition and explosives using funds they raised for this purpose and communicated with foreign militants. These militants provided the suspects with funds and people to achieve their goals inside the country,” Kubaish said.
Prosecutors 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.
Prosecutors said the group also disseminated audio and video material on the internet.
Total on trial: 41
11 members of a banned terror group were sentenced to life in prison
Seven accused were acquitted
Two members of the terrorist group sentenced o 15 years in prison
13 men were handed 10 years’ jail
Two were sentenced to five years
Six others got three years in prison.
Thirty-eight men and 19 women, the relatives of the defendants, attended the hearing.
The hearing was held amid tight security with scores of policemen and anti-riot forces surrounding the Federal Supreme Court.
A woman fainted after her son was sentenced to life in prison.