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'Qaeda cell' trial opens in UAE

06 May 2014, 18:28

Dubai - Nine suspected Al-Qaeda members accused of plotting attacks in the United Arab Emirates have gone on trial in Abu Dhabi's state security court, newspapers reported on Tuesday.

A first hearing was held on Monday, and the case adjourned until 19 May to allow for defence lawyers to be appointed, the reports said.

The nine accused of forming an Al-Qaeda cell, including one being tried in absentia, are Arab nationals, most of them from North Africa, according to Al-Khaleej newspaper.

They are charged with "planning attacks damaging to the country's security and [foreign] residents."

The indictment also accuses them of having "recruited, financed and given logistical support to Al-Qaeda" and attempting "to extend their activities to other countries in the region".

Abu Dhabi announced in April 2013 having dismantled an al-Qaeda cell planning attacks in the United Arab Emirates, one of the stablest countries in the Middle East.

The UAE, like its neighbouring fellow monarchies in the Gulf, emerged unscathed from the wave of Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.

But dozens of Emiratis and Egyptians have been jailed in past months for forming cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed in Egypt and accused of seeking to overthrow the Gulf monarchies.

Foreigners account for more than 85% of the estimated UAE population of eight million, lured by work opportunities in the oil-rich country.



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