UAE jails seven for links to Hezbol­lah

Kuwait Times - - NEWS -

A top Emi­rati court yes­ter­day sen­tenced seven peo­ple to up to life in prison af­ter con­vict­ing them of form­ing a cell linked to Le­banon’s Iran-backed Hezbol­lah move­ment, state me­dia said. One Emi­rati na­tional and two Le­banese men were given life sen­tences, while an Iraqi and an­other Le­banese man were jailed for 15 years each, ac­cord­ing to state news agency WAM. An Egyp­tian wo­man and an­other Emi­rati man were each jailed for 10 years, it said.

The charges in­cluded “pass­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion about a gov­ern­men­tal depart­ment to Le­banon’s Hezbol­lah (group) and for the ben­e­fit of a for­eign coun­try,” WAM said. The de­fen­dants were also ac­cused of pass­ing in­for­ma­tion about “oil pro­duc­tion in one of the emi­rates as well as maps of oil and gas fields,” it said. They were also charged with “form­ing and man­ag­ing an in­ter­na­tional group be­long­ing to the (Hezbol­lah) party with­out a li­cense from the govern­ment,” it added.

The trial at the state se­cu­rity court was at­tended by some of the de­fen­dants’ fam­ily mem­bers, as well as lawyers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of lo­cal me­dia, WAM said. The for­eign press is not usu­ally given ac­cess to state se­cu­rity tri­als. The Arab League and the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil in March de­clared Hezbol­lah a “ter­ror­ist” group over the move­ment’s back­ing for the Syr­ian regime. Hezbol­lah is fight­ing in Syria in sup­port of the govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Bashar Al-As­sad against op­po­nents in­clud­ing Gulf-backed rebels.

In an­other hear­ing, the court jailed an Emi­rati man for seven years for “fight­ing with a ter­ror­ist group in Syria”, The Na­tional daily re­ported. His sis­ter, 34, was sen­tenced to five years and fined 500,000 dirhams ($136,240) for post­ing in­sult­ing tweets against the state, the pa­per said. The 24year-old was found guilty of join­ing the Ahrar Al-Sham Is­lamist group in Syria in 2013 and re­ceiv­ing mil­i­tary train­ing. His lawyer said he had gone to war-rav­aged Syria only to re­trieve the body of his father who was killed while fight­ing for the group, the pa­per said.— AFP

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