'Reem Island Ghost' accused claims she has a ‘mental illness’

Emirati tells court she was forced to confess to the murder of an American teacher in an Abu Dhabi mall

The woman accused of stabbing an American teacher to death in an Abu Dhabi mall has claimed during her second court appearance at the Federal Supreme Court that she is mentally ill and forced to confess to the crime while under interrogation, it was reported.

Emirati Alaa Bader Abdullah Al Hashemi (29) appeared in court accused of stabbing Ibolya Ryan (37) to death in a toilet cubicle in Boutik Mall on Reem Island on December 1 last year.

Al Hashemi was also charged with making an explosive device with the aim of harming others, creating an online account to promote terrorist ideas, spreading information that harmed the country and donating funds to a terrorist organisation.

During the hearing, Al Hashemi told the court she was suffering from a mental illness and often has visions, The National reported.

“I have had this case since I was as young as 3 or 4 years old. I started seeing women, speaking to them and playing with them. I have a similar impact of being possessed… I ask the court and the prison to consider my situation and to provide me with psychological help,” she was quoted as saying.

Al Hashemi has denied the charges against her and claimed she was forced to confess to the crime after being mistreated while being questioned by officers, the report added.

Abdulqader Al Haithami, the lawyer appointed by the court to represent her, asked for time to research his client’s alleged mental illness, further analyse the evidence against her and to call three witnesses in the crime.

A member of the prosecution said she had committed the crimes as an act of terror to threaten the stability and security of the country.

He also said Al Hashemi is accused of sending financial aid to Al Qaeda in Yemen with the knowledge that the money would be used for terrorist activities.

It was also said she established two websites where she spread terrorist ideals and promoted ISIL’s ideals and beliefs. These websites were used to defame symbols of the UAE with the purpose of ruining the reputation of the country, said the prosecutors.

Prosecutors claimed the crimes were an act of terror designed to threaten the stability and security of the state.

Last month, the Attorney General said the charges were filed against the accused after extensive investigations which revealed that she listened to lectures by Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, and watched video clips of killings and beheadings.

He added that the accused embraced the takfiri and jihadist ideology and then engaged in terrorist acts in support of the terrorist organisations Al Qaeda and ISIL.

The Attorney General said that the accused donated funds to Al Qaeda with the aim of financing terrorist operations inside the UAE.

"The accused committed her crime against a foreign resident (a US woman) in a shopping centre to spread terror among both expatriate residents and visitors and embarrass and undermine the state authorities globally," Attorney General Salem Saeed Kubaish said.

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