Seven charged with forming terrorist cell

Appeals Court weighs four terrorism, spying cases alleged to have threatened UAE security

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Federal Appeals Court on Wednesday heard four cases related to state security.

In the first case, the court heard the charges against seven defendants of an Arab nationality. According to court documents, the men formed a cell to promote and support terrorist groups and organisations in Syria, such as Daesh, Ahrar Al Sham and Al Nusra Front, and to send communications equipment to them for military use.

The prosecution also accused members of the group of establishing several accounts on social media to harm relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia and to promote the ideas and ideologies of terrorist groups and urged young people to join them.

The court heard a witness in the case, an officer in the State Security Service, who said that the defendants had been meeting in the house of the main accused to develop their programmes of movement and to draw up their work plans and contact with elements of the terrorist groups. After hearing the lawyers’ cross examination of the witness and hearing the demands of some of the defendants, the court adjourned the hearing to April 11, when defence lawyers will present their arguments.

In the second case, the court heard charges against a Pakistani defendant who is accused of spying for Pakistan and providing an intelligence officer with sensitive and confidential information belonging to Etisalat and Du.

The defendant denied the charges while the defence counsel asked for disclosure of the investigation documents to prepare a defence note. The court adjourned the case to March 31 to hear the defence arguments.

In the third case, the court charged a man with insulting a number of leaders and uttering obscene words against the UAE government. The accused maintains that he was not in his consciousness or in control of his mind, and did not remember anything he said because he was drunk at the time. After the defendant’s lawyer filed his arguments, the court set April 11 for pronouncing the verdict.

In the last case, the court heard charges against six people who are accused of establishing social media sites to promote the ideology of a terrorist organisation and the dissemination of video clips promoting the organisation and inviting young people to join it.

After hearing defence lawyers, the judge ordered bailing out five of the defendants after withholding their passports, detaining the main defendant. The judge fixed April 11 for pronouncing the verdict.

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