A top court in the United Arab Emirates has sentenced 11 people to life imprisonment on Sunday over terrorism charges and raising money for al Qaeda and ISIS terrorist organization in Syria, state news agency WAM reported on Sunday.
A total of 41 defendants were charged in October with “possessing firearms and ammunition with the intention of committing terrorist crimes against the country and its security,” according to WAM. They were also accused of seeking to overthrow the government to set up an ISIS-style caliphate in the UAE.
The news agency reported that the Federal Supreme court in Abu Dhabi jailed two defendants for 15 years, 13 for 10 years, six for three years, and two for five years.
Seven others were acquitted.
Those convicted were found guilty of “endangering the safety and security of the country and the lives of individuals, including the leadership and its symbols with the intention to cause damage to state and private infrastructure,” stated Khaleej Times.
It added that the men also faced prison for “raising funds and financial support to other terrorist groups such as Nusra Front and Daesh in Syria,” using Arabic names which refer to al Qaeda’s branch in the war-torn country and ISIS.
The statement on WAM did not specify the suspects’ nationalities. It said two of those given life terms were sentenced in absentia.
Authorities had reported their arrest on August 2 and their trial — which was closed to international media — began on August 24.
The UAE is part of a US-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against ISIS in Syria since September last year.
The Gulf state has intensified security since the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011.
ISIS has pledged to overthrow the monarchies of the Gulf and mounted a series of attacks on Muslim mosques and security forces in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.