UAE's 'Ghost of Reem Island' killer executed

UAE's 'Ghost of Reem Island' killer executed
Alaa al-Hashemi, who was sentenced to death for murdering a US school teacher at a Abu Dhabi mall, has been executed.
2 min read
13 July, 2015
Hashemi was filmed fleeing the mall after the killing of the school teacher

An Emirati woman, dubbed the Ghost of Reem Island, has been executed on Monday morning, two weeks after she was sentenced to death for murdering a US citizen in an Abu Dhabi mall.

Alaa Bader Abdullah al-Hashemi was executed by firing squad, according to UAE daily The National

Hashemi, who was inspired by extremist groups, stabbed to death Ibolya Ryan - a 47-year-old teacher - at a shopping centre toilets on Abu Dhabi's upscale Reem Island in December 2014.

Ahmed al-Dhanhani, attorney general for the state security prosecution, told the state news agency, WAM, that Hashemi was executed on Monday morning following the approval of UAE president Sheikh Khalifa Zayed al-Nahyan.

No further details were revealed about the execution.

Hashemi was inspired by extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and had sent money to a jihdi group operating in Yemen.

Her husband had been arrested before Hashemi killed the mother of three on suspicion of supplying funds to al-Qaeda in Yemen.

The 30-year-old Emirati woman was also found guilty of planting a homemade bomb - which failed to detonate - outside the home of another US citizen. 

She was also found to have "insulted" UAE national symbols online and spread information that could "jeopardise" the security of the country.

Hashemi was caught on security camera entering the Reem Island shopping centre's bathrooms before fleeing after she had stabbed the teacher with a hunter's knife she had concealed in her sock.

Wearing a full veil and flowing black abaya dress that covered her face, UAE media described the woman as "the Ghost of Reem Island" due to her all-covering black robes.

Later, a UAE counterterrorism force was filmed raiding her home where they found traces of blood on the steering wheel of her husband's car, as well as evidence that she had accessed extremist websites.

During her trial, the defence team claimed that Hashemi was suffering from chronic mental illness, seeing "unreal visions" and "ghost-like people".

However, Hashemi was assessed by a psychologist who said she was aware of her actions.

The UAE is part of an international coalition that is conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Gulf countries - including the UAE - are becoming increasingly alarmed by the prospect of IS sleeper cells operating in their countries. 

Thousands of Gulf nationals have joined the group, while others are sympathetic or linked to the jihadi organisation who control large parts of northern Iraq and Syria.

IS-linked extremists have bombed Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which has led to GCC countries ramping up security to combat the threat.