UAE upholds Turkish national's life sentence for 'terrorism'

According to state media, the man used Facebook to promote the ideologies of two 'terror' groups and send them funds.

    The UAE court upheld the sentence of  [File: Nikhil Monteiro/Reuters]
    The UAE court upheld the sentence of [File: Nikhil Monteiro/Reuters]

    The United Arab Emirates' Supreme Federal Court has upheld a life sentence against a Turkish citizen accused of fundraising for Syrian groups the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, the Emirates News agency (WAM) has reported.

    According to the indictment, the Turkish national, aged 49, was found guilty of "launching an extensive campaign on a Facebook account named 'Ali Ozturk Mehmet' without getting an official permit".

    He reportedly used the account to promote the ideologies of "two terrorist groups and send them funds through money transfer companies in the UAE", WAM said.

    The man had filed an appeal against the ruling, but on Monday the court upheld the sentence and also ordered that he be deported after serving his sentence and pay the court fees based on the case. A life sentence in the UAE is a maximum of 25 years. 

    Last month, the UAE charged eight Lebanese citizens, all of them Shia Muslims, with "terrorism" after denying them legal representation.

    Human Rights Watch said their trial was "marred with violations," with the UAE using the "spectre of terrorism to justify its utter lack of respect for the rule of law".

    A trade and tourism hub, the UAE is an absolute monarchy which tolerates little public criticism.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies