[JURIST] The Federal Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) [JURIST news archive] on Monday convicted an American citizen of engaging in terrorist activities and sentenced him to 18 months in prison. Naji Hamdan, who confessed to the terrorist activities while being tortured, pleaded not guilty [AP report] at the trial. Hamdan consistently denied the charges, claiming his confessions were coerced through torture. Hamdan expressed disappointment at the conviction, which cannot be appealed. His family said they expect his release soon [AFP report], as he has already been in prison for 14 months.
Hamdan faced three separate charges of terrorism, including providing financial support for attacks against Israel and being connected to al-Qaeda in Iraq. Despite being of Lebanese descent, Hamdan lived for 20 years in the US. The FBI questioned Hamdan [BBC report] in 1999 regarding his connection to terrorist organizations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [official website] suspected the US government of pushing the case onto UAE officials because it did not have enough evidence to charge Hamdan. The ACLU asked for the US government to intervene [press release], but the request was denied in August.