UAE Puts Self-Proclaimed Emir of Local ISIS Group on Trial

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Washington, D.C.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has accused an Emirati man, who claims to be the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in the UAE, of plotting an assassination and bomb attacks on various targets inside the Gulf nation, including Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 circuit, according to multiple news outlets.

Citing testimony before the UAE Federal Supreme Court on Monday, The National reports that the 34 year-old man “appointed himself as the emir” of ISIS, which controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria and has expanded beyond those two countries into Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Afghanistan, among other countries.

The man, identified only by his initials “MAH,” is reportedly charged with seven terrorism offenses including joining ISIS and plotting attacks on Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 circuit and branch of furniture chain IKEA, as well as preparing to assassinate an unnamed Emirati leader.

MAH’s wife was identified as Alaa Bader al-Hashemi, an Emirati woman executed in July for the terrorist group-inspired murder of U.S. school teacher Ibolya Ryan, 47, which took place inside an Abu Dhabi shopping mall back in December 2014, reports Al Arabiya.

“A forensics expert from the Ministry of Justice told the judge that a computer belonging to the accused, and an external hard disk he used, contained hundreds of videos that included explosives-making tutorials and other extremist content,” reports The National. “The expert said the videos included tutorials on making C4 plastic bombs, aluminum explosives and other varieties.”

A witness testified that, based on the contents of the defendant’s computers, he used speeches of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the late founder al Qaeda in Iraq, to spread the radical jihadist ideology among young people in the UAE and recruit them.

“The man set up a website named ‘the media battalion’ to promote the terrorist ideology of these terrorist organizations and recruit young people for them,” reportedly said the witness.

Another witness told the judge that MAH had been known to Emirati authorities for his Islamic extremist views from as far back as 2003.

The judge also learned that the defendant and his wife “performed a symbolic ceremony to pledge allegiance to the leader of ISIL, and that M A H appointed himself as the group’s true representative in the UAE,” reveals The National.

“The accused and his wife were adamant that they would join a terror organization, the witness said, befriending several people M A H met on extremist websites to help him to achieve his goal,” adds the report.

The court scheduled the next hearing for February 22.