40 men on trial tried to 'overthrow' UAE government

40 men on trial tried to 'overthrow' UAE government
Emirati and foreign nationals with alleged links to Syria al-Qaeda affiliate faced charges in an Abu Dhabi court on Monday of smuggling weapons and plotting to overthrow the UAE state.
2 min read
17 November, 2015
The UAE regime has struggled with rising Islamist sentiments among its subjects [AFP]

Forty Islamists charged with attempting to overthrow the Emirati government linked to Syrian Islamist militants and have smuggled in weapons for attacks, a court heard Monday.

The defendants include 38 Emiratis, the English-language Gulf News daily reported in its online version, without giving other nationalities.

The trial of the group known as al-Manara opened in August at the state security court in Abu Dhabi, but the international press is barred from attending.

The group smuggled in weapons, ammunition and detonators "obtained in collaboration with Syria's al-Nusra Front", an al-Qaeda affiliate, as well as militants in Iran, witnesses told the court, quoted in the daily.

They said the suspects planned to overthrow the government, assassinate leaders, attack malls and hotels and to declare an Islamic state in the Gulf country.

The trial was adjourned to 8 December.

Authorities reported their arrest on 2 August and prosecutors immediately levelled the accusations against them and said they would face trial.

The UAE is part of a US-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria since September 2014.

In July, it adopted tougher anti-terror legislation and introduced the death penalty for crimes linked to religious hatred and "takfiri" radical Islamic groups.

These measures were taken a week after an Emirati woman convicted of the extremist-inspired murder of a US schoolteacher was put to death by firing squad, in a rare execution in the UAE.