Turkish citizen loses UAE life sentence appeal for terrorism

Turkish citizen loses UAE life sentence appeal for terrorism
A Turkish citizen who was sentenced to life for promoting Islamist groups in Syria and transferring funds, has had his sentence upheld by the UAE's supreme court.
3 min read
30 April, 2019
The UAE Supreme Court upheld the life sentence on Tuesday [Getty]
UAE's Supreme Court upheld a life sentence against a Turkish citizen for promoting Islamist groups in Syria and transferring funds out of the Gulf state, state media reported.

The supreme court in Abu Dhabi upheld the life sentence of the 49-year-old Turkish citizen for "launching an extensive campaign on a Facebook account named 'Ali Ozturk Mehmet' without getting an official permit" to promote "the ideologies of the two terrorist groups and sending them funds through money transfer companies in the UAE", the state news agency WAM said.

According to the indictment, cited by the news agency, the man was found guilty of "colluding" with former Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, two radical groups in Syria.

An Arab man was also found guilty of setting up and managing accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and WhatsApp "under the pseudonym 'Abu Mohamed Al Adnani' with the intent of promoting the fanatic ideologies of the Islamic State group", WAM said.

The Turkish national was first accused by prosecutors of colluding with terrorist groups in Syria and was found guilty of fundraising activities in the UAE for the two groups.

The ruling, handed down late on Monday, comes less than two weeks after Turkey arrested a UAE citizen suspected of playing a role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October in Istanbul. 

Zaki Hasan, a Palestinian national was one of two people arrested by Turkey on charges of spying on Arab dissidents for the UAE. 

But reports on Sunday confirmed Hasan hanged himself in detention in Silviri prison on the outskirts of Istanbul, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Monday.

The man was found dead in his cell on Sunday, according to a statement by Istanbul's chief prosecutor.

Palestinian ambassador to Turkey Fayed Mustafa confirmed Hasan's death.

"The embassy is waiting for the results of the autopsy," Mustafa said in a statement, according to Al-Jazeera Mubasher.

But Zakaria Mubarak Hasan denied claims that his brother Zaki had committed suicide while in prison in a video published on Facebook, claiming he had been "killed".

Hasan was reportedly from the Gaza Strip, where he worked in the Palestinian intelligence services.

After moving to Ramallah and Bulgaria, Hasan entered Turkey a few months ago, according to Palestinian media.

Turkish authorities are also probing the possibility that the suspects could have been involved in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a public opponent of Saudi de-facto ruler and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was lured into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last October, where he was killed by a team of Saudi operatives.

After initially denying Khashoggi's murder, Saudi Arabia now maintains that a "rogue" team carried out the operation.

A trial by the Saudi judiciary of unnamed 11 suspects in them murder began earlier this year.

The trial has been widely criticised by human rights groups and the UN for its lack of transparency.

Saud al-Qahtani, a Saudi royal adviser and right-hand-man to bin Salman who is widely suspected to have overseen the killing, is not being prosecuted in the closed-door trial, AFP reported on Sunday.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab