A national of a Gulf state, Salem A.M., was sentenced by a top UAE court on Monday to seven years’ imprisonment and a Dh500,000 fine for promoting the terrorist group Daesh and recruiting people to join it.
The Federal Supreme Court also ordered the man to be deported after serving his term, the confiscation of the equipment used in the crime and the shutting down of his websites.
The court also heard defence lawyer Fahd Al Sabhan in the so-called Umma party case.
Al Sabhan said his client’s tweets may have been critical of a country but were not meant to attack it.
“These tweets were just an expression of opinion, guaranteed by the UAE Constitution. These tweets are not incriminated by the UAE Criminal Code, especially articles concerning crimes that undermine internal or external security of the country,” Al Sabhan said.
He added that prosecutors did not present any evidence that the defendant published these tweets and his Twitter accounts may have been hacked.
“These tweets had been posted in 2012 and the defendant was arrested in 2015. So, if these tweets were an offence, why was he not arrested and charged then?” Al Sabhan asked.
The lawyer said that his client did not commit a hostile act against a foreign country or its interests.
Article 166 of the UAE penal code provides for a maximum of 10 years in prison for anyone who commits any hostile act against a foreign country that could expose the UAE to the danger of war or the severance of diplomatic relations.
The defendant is also accused of violating article 29 of the UAE’s 2012 cybercrime law, which provides for a maximum of 15 years in prison for publishing material online with sarcastic intent or to damage the reputation of the state or its leaders..
Prosecutors told the court the Emirati defendant was charged with setting up Istanbul-based UAE Umma party, which called for overthrowing the government and seizing power in the country.
“The man coordinated with so-called Umma parties in the Gulf states and the terrorist Al Islah group in the UAE, an affiliate of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, to establish so-called UAE Anonymous Movement to seize power in the UAE,” Saqer Saif, the State Security Prosecutor, told the court.
The prosecutors also said the man contacted members of terrorist groups in Syria, including Daesh and Al Nusra Front. They also communicated with terrorist groups in Libya and trained there to set up militias of the UAE Umma Party, which planned a number of terrorist attacks in several Gulf countries, including the UAE, a prosecutor told the court.
Article 21 of the UAE 2014 counter-terrorism law provides for the death penalty or life in prison for anyone who organises or manages “a terrorist organisation”.
Source: /Gulf News