Family persuaded man accused of joining terrorist group to return to UAE, court hears
ABU DHABI // A man charged with joining the terrorist coalition Ahrar Al Sham in Syria was persuaded to return home after speaking to his family, the Federal Supreme Court was told.
A lawyer representing the 32-year-old Emirati said his client never succeeded in joining the group after travelling to Turkey.
“All he did was simply travel to Turkey where he was conned by the terrorists who stole all his belongings and money. He was appalled by what he saw and he decided to return home. He never joined any terrorist organisation,” said the lawyer.
The customs officer from Sharjah left the country on January 12, 2013 and travelled to Turkey where he spent 16 days before realising he had made a dreadful mistake, his lawyer told the court, adding that the defendant spoke to his family who urged him to return and surrender himself to the authorities.
The lawyer asked that the charges against his client be amended to seeking to join a terrorist organisation and that he be sent for counter-radicalisation counselling.
In a separate case, a 31-year-old Emirati appeared before the court to defend himself against charges of being radicalised and posing a threat to society. He opted not to appoint a lawyer.
The defendant told the judge he didn’t have any relationship with terrorist organisations, explaining that the charge came about after he took a trip to Jordan in 2013.
“I only spent 24 hours in Jordan and was accompanied by someone the whole time. When I attempted to go back I was surprised to find out that I was banned from travel. I’m not a radical. I believe in moderate ways of thinking” he said.
A verdict will be announced in both cases on October 10.
Updated: September 6, 2016 04:00 AM