Self-proclaimed ISIS ‘emir’ on trial in UAE

The accused was married to Alaa Bader al-Hashemi, a UAE woman executed for the murder of U.S. school teacher

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An Emirati man accused of seeking to carry out attacks on targets including Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 circuit claimed to be the local leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, newspapers reported on Tuesday, citing a Federal Supreme court hearing.

A prosecution witness told the court that an Emirati and his wife had taken an oath of allegiance to ISIS through social media, Gulf News reported.

He was married to Alaa Bader al-Hashemi, an Emirati woman executed in July for the militant-inspired murder of U.S. school teacher Ibolya Ryan, 47, in the washroom of an Abu Dhabi shopping mall in December 2014.

The witness said the defendant’s computers showed he used speeches of ISIS leader Abu Baqr Al-Baghdadi and late head of Al-Qaeda Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi to spread the radical militant ideology among youth and recruit them.

“The man set up a website named ‘the media battalion’ to promote the terrorist ideology of these terrorist organizations and recruit young people for them,” the witness added.

Another witness said the defendant’s computers had software to log on to sites teaching people how to make explosives with plans to target a shopping mall, a military site and to assassinate a leader.

Meanwhile, The National daily cited a witness as telling a court during the trial that the defendant and his wife had performed a “symbolic ceremony to pledge allegiance” to Al-Baghdadi.

International media are not allowed access to the trial of the man, 34, at the Federal Supreme court in the UAE capital, which has upped security measures since the wave of Arab Spring protests that swept the region in 2011.

He is charged with joining ISIS and plotting attacks on Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 circuit. He is reportedly also accused of plotting to attack the Abu Dhabi branch of furniture chain Ikea, as well as preparing to assassinate an unspecified Emirati leader.

The United Arab Emirates is a member of the U.S.-led coalition that has been bombing ISIS since September 2014.

UAE authorities have enacted tougher anti-terror legislation, including harsher jail terms and even introducing the death penalty for crimes linked to religious hatred and “takfiri groups.”

(With AFP)

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