Federal Supreme Court issues verdicts in case of al-Qaeda cell

ABU DHABI: The State Security Circuit at the Federal Supreme Court, chaired by Judge Falah Al Hajiri, has handed down sentences ranging from life, seven years imprisonment and deportation for seven of the defendants in the case of the nine people accused of joining and forming a cell affiliated to al-Qaeda and of funding the Al Nusra Front (Jebhat al-Nusra).

The court acquitted two defendants due to a lack of evidence.

The defendants were accused of establishing an al-Qaeda cell in the UAE to promote and recruit new members to join terrorist organisations such as the Al-Nusra Front to fight against the Syrian government. They were also accused of collecting money to finance terrorist acts abroad. Two of the defendants were also accused of launching a new website and running it to publish information on al-Qaeda, to promote its ideas and to recruit more cadres.

The defendants Mohammed Suhaib bin Al Hadi and Rushdi bin Faraj Al Furjani were acquitted from all charges, while the other defendants were exonerated of the recruitment charges. The court sentenced Rafat Mohammed Harb Abu Sabha to life imprisonment on the first and third charges of belonging to the terrorist organisation. It sentenced the defendants Ibrahim Anthwan Ibrahim Dagher, Wadia bin Abdul Qader Bonni, Ramzi Salem Al Tawati, Rabia Abdul Qader bin Suleiman, Badr Nader Mohammed Gazawi, Yousef Ahmed Gadoura to seven years imprisonment on the charges of belonging to the terrorist organisation.

It fined Wadia bin Abdul Qader and Bader Nader Mohammed Gazawi AED1 million . The court has also issued an order that those convicted should be deported after serving their jail terms. It also ordered the confiscation of all seized electronic gadgets referred to in the technical report presented to the court.

The verdicts were issued in the presence of eight defendants, while one defendant was convicted in absentia.

The court session was attended by the relatives of defendants, defence lawyers, representatives of media and civil society organisations, and a representative from the Embassy of Tunisia.