[JURIST] The Federal Supreme Court [official website] of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued sentences on Sunday for 41 defendants connected to a terrorist plot to bomb malls and hotels. All 41 defendants were charged with possessing firearms and ammunition for terrorist purposes [Reuters report], though 7 defendants were acquitted. As for the rest, 23 defendants received up to 15 years jail time while 11 defendants received life sentences for raising monetary support for al Queda and the Islamic State. Amongst the 11 sentenced defendants was Khalid Abdulla Kalantar, an extremist preacher from Dubai and founder of the focal terrorist group Shabab Al Manara. Kalantar formed [National report] the group, also referred to as Minaret’s Youth, by recruiting young Emirati and non-Emirati outcasts with criminal records. The Court ordered [WAM report] the immediate dissolution of the terrorist group and the confiscation of all found weapons and equipment.
The Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder], which has claimed responsibility for the recent bombings in Brussels [Independent report], has been accused of war crimes on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria. IS also claimed responsibility for the November attacks in Paris [JURIST report]. On Sunday, Brussels authorities charged [JURIST report] a shooter connected to both the Brussels bombing and a thwarted terrorist plot in France. Authorities have reported [USA Today report] that that evidence gathered in three countries shows a “close working relationship” between terrorists who struck in Brussels on Tuesday and in Paris in November. Authorities have detained at least 11 people in operations in Belgium, France and Germany and have confirmed that one of the suicide bombers at Brussels Airport was the bomb maker related to the two suicide vests used in the Paris attacks. According to US counterterrorism officials, the ongoing police operations suggest [CNN report] that authorities are working towards preventing the next attack and investigators have identified additional plots [CNN report] in various stages of planning in Europe.