Source: Gulf News – The State Security Court in the UAE Federal Supreme Court has announced its verdicts in the case of the 15 men involved in the Al Nusra Front and Ahrar Al Sham (the Free Men of the Levant movement) cases on Tuesday.
The first defendant, Mohammad Esmat Mohammad Shaker Ez, 36, of Syrian nationality has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in addition to paying a fine of Dh1 million as well as full closing down of his personal website.
The court then ruled that the second Syrian offender, Samer Mahmoud Ghattas, 39, be sent to three years in prison while the third defendant Abdullah Mohammad Abdullah Al Balouchi, 28, from the Comoros Islands, will serve 15 years in prison.
Emirati citizen and Comoros Island passport holder Marwan Eissa Abdul Rahman Al Balouchi, 24, and Ayed Adel Mohammad Al Balouchi, who is also Emirati, will see seven years in prison on charges of manufacturing explosives and polluting the environment.
The court also sentenced Ayed to an additional year in prison and a fine of Dh15,000 for possessing an unlicensed weapon.
The sixth and seventh Emirati suspect, Adel Mousa Mohammad Ismail Al Raisi, 33, and Omran Mohammad Hasan Jamal Aal Balouchi, 26, were acquitted of manufacturing explosives and polluting the environment but were found guilty of belonging to the Al Nusra Front and the Free Men of the Levant organisations.
Four men tried in absentia have been sentenced to life in prison. These are: Emirati Hamdan Hasan Murad Eisa, 26, Ismail Ali Mohammad Hassan, 31, Abdullah Hassan Mohammad Al Balouchi, 25, Abdul Hakim Nouran Nasir Ghulam, 25.
The court acquitted Emirati defendants: Mohammad Abdullah Hassan, 28, Abdul Kader Mousa Sulaiman Abdullah, 29 and Ali Hassan Mohammad Al Raisi, 29, from helping the Al Nusra Front and the Free Men of the Levant movement financially and by providing them with tools and equipment.
Presiding judge Mohammad Al Tunaiji ruled that all equipment seized from the defendants will be confiscated by the court and the foreign offenders will be deported after completing their sentences.
During the last six sessions in October and November 2014, the defendants were charged with creating an organisation named Ahrar Al Sham, “Freedom fighters of the Levant – the UAE branch,” which belongs to the Al Qaida and Al Nusra Front in Syria.
Representatives from the prosecution listed the charges against the defendants in criminal case number 147/2013, saying that the defendants’ alleged organisation aimed to threaten security and stability in the UAE.
The prosecution also said the organisation aimed to provide Al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham with money, weaponry, human resources, supplies, and tools to make bombs, even though the defendants knew that their actions are against UAE laws.
In its argument, the prosecution accused the first defendant of organising and running the group as well as training others to join.
According to the invistigation and the prosecution’s statements, the defendant allegedly set up an organisational structure and divided members into two groups; the first of which would undergo military training to fight, build bombs, use guns, and then travel to Syria.
The second group, called the “Support Group”, was in charge of logistics, money, and providing supplies for the training.
During the previous session, the prosecution’s representative used pictures and video clips to illustrate how the first defendant created the group and communicated via the internet with terrorist organisations in Syria.
He added that other members of the group had been undergoing military training in Ajman, and learning how to build bombs through materials from shops that sell firecrackers.
The prosecution also accused defendants of conducting seven tests on the explosives in the emirate, causing damage to the environment and public health.
Additionally, the prosecution accused the defendants – four of whom have fled the country – of collecting nearly Dh36,000 and transferring the money to terrorist organisations in Syria along with video cameras, computers, bomb-building tools, 14 car engines, and other electronic supplies.
The prosecution said that upon inspecting the first defendant’s house, a computer was found that included files with the organisational structure of the Emirati group, which held the name ‘Freedom fighters of the Levant – Victory is coming.’ The files included names of the members and details about every department in the organisation.
The prosecution said they also found the organisational structure of groups in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The prosecution demanded the harshest punishment according to articles 2 and 10 of the Federal Law No 1 for the year 2004, and articles of Federal Law No 7 for the year 2014, which discuss fighting terrorism.
The court session was attended by 13 members of the defendants’ families, and nine journalists.
The men are among a total of 15 accused of membership of Al Qaida’s affiliates of Al Nusrah Front in Syria and another militant Syrian opposition group, Ahrar Al Sham, and of collecting funds for these.
The total number of defendants on trial at the Federal Supreme Court are nine Emiratis, four from the Comoros islands off east Africa and two Syrians.
Four other Emiratis are being tried in absentia.
All 11 who appeared in court denied the charges. A defence lawyer asked for four witnesses to be called to give evidence.
The men were also charged with recruiting members and raising money for the two terrorist groups as well as making explosives and possessing firearms without licences, said prosecutor Saqr Saif, who read out the indictment.