Judges in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have ordered 11 terror suspects to be jailed for life. Prosecutors say the men were part of the "Minaret Youth," a cell that allegedly raised money for al Qaeda and IS in Syria.
Prosecutors at UAE's top security court had charged a total of 41 people with "possessing firearms and ammunition with the intention of committing terrorist crimes against the country and its security," state news agency WAM reported on Sunday.
The men were accused of "raising funds and financial support to other terrorist groups such as Nusra Front and Daesh in Syria," WAM added, referring to the "Islamic State" (IS) group by its Arabic name.
Of the defendants, 11 were sentenced to life imprisonment, while 23 defendants were handed jail terms of between five and 15 years. The rest were acquitted. Only two defendants pleaded guilty in court, according to local news website, The National.
The men were connected to a cell called the "Minaret Youth," including Emirati and non-Emirati members, whose nationalities were not made public. The cell's leader, Khalid Abdulla Kalantar, had been a preacher in a Dubai mosque and encouraged extremism, according to The National.
The UAE is part of the US-led coalition to wipe out IS in Iraq and Syria and authorities there have been clamping down on suspected Islamic extremists in recent years. IS has vowed to overthrow monarchies in the Gulf.
mg/se (AP, dpa, Reuters)