ABU DHABI, Sept 6, (AFP): An Emirati man with suspected jihadist links went on trial in Abu Dhabi on Monday accused of running over and attempting to kill a US jogger, media reports said.
The defendant, who was not identified, is also accused of trying to join al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, plotting attacks in the UAE and promoting jihadist organisations including the Islamic State group, said state news agency WAM. According to the prosecution, in May 2015 the 29-year-old suspect repeatedly ran over the unnamed US national with his car “with the intention of killing him,” said The National newspaper. It said the American man, who was jogging in Abu Dhabi at the time, was injured but survived.
The defendant was charged with premeditated attempted manslaughter, the newspaper said. “He is also accused of plotting to commit acts of terrorism in the UAE, including bombing the headquarters of Sky News Arabia in Abu Dhabi and Al-Arabiya in Dubai,” the daily said, referring to two news channels. It cited prosecutors as saying that the suspect had travelled to Turkey in a failed bid to infiltrate Syria to join al-Qaeda-affiliate Al-Nusra Front, now known as Fateh al-Sham Front.
WAM said that the defendant denied the charges against him during the hearing at the Abu Dhabi Federal Supreme Court. The trial was adjourned to Oct 3, The National said. The same court also heard a separate case Monday involving two Emirati women accused of sending money and coded messages to al-Qaeda members, the paper added.
Their case was also adjourned to Oct 3. The United Arab Emirates is a member of the US-led coalition that has been bombing IS jihadists in Iraq and Syria since September 2014. Authorities in the Gulf state have enacted anti-terror legislation, including the death penalty and harsher jail terms for crimes linked to religious hatred and extremist groups.