By Staff writer
41 charged with setting up illegal terrorist group, smuggling firearms, ammunition and explosives and plotting to carry out attacks on tourist centres in the UAE
The 41 Al Manara terror suspects charged with setting up an illegal terrorist group, smuggling firearms, ammunition and explosives and plotting to carry out attacks on malls and tourist centres in the UAE have pleaded not guilty at the Federal Supreme Court.
The defendants, which includes 39 Emiratis, were also charged with plotting to overthrow the government and set up an ISIL-style caliphate.
The supposed mastermind behind the group, KAK, told the court that most of those charged have nothing to do with the group, and said it was a preaching organisation, according to the report in Gulf News.
“Our belief has nothing to do with violence and we never accept overthrowing the government or disobedience of the ruler even if he is at fault,” KAK said.
KAK also denied any connection with terrorist organisations, including Al Nusra Front, Ahrar Al Sham or ISIL, and said he did not send anyone to Syria or Iraq to join ISIL.
“Whoever travelled to Syria or Iraq has done so on his or her will,” he said.
The court also heard that 17 of the defendants said they have never committed terror-related offences.
Lawyers for some of the defendants asked that their clients be cleared of all charges, amid claims of a lack of serious investigation or irrefutable evidence.
The prosecutors told the court the defendants are charged with setting up a terrorist organisation Shabab Al Manara, with the intent of committing terrorist acts in the UAE.
“Their intention was to overthrow the government, kill people, attack shopping malls and hotels and declare a Daesh-style caliphate in the UAE, the witnesses told the court,” the prosecutor said.
“To carry out their terrorist acts, the suspects procured firearms, ammunition and explosives using funds they raised for this purpose and communicated with foreign militants. These militants provided these suspects with funds and people to achieve their goals inside the country,” the prosecutor added.
The suspects also confessed on video to smuggling weapons, ammunition and detonators into the UAE, and to a plan to overthrow the UAE government, according to prosecutors, who demanded maximum punishment.
The case was adjourned to January 10, when lawyers for other defendants will present their defence.