DOHA/ABU DHABI: A UAE court yesterday sentenced Qatari physician Dr Mahmoud Al Jaidah to seven years in jail for supporting a banned local organisation.
The Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi found Jaidah guilty of “supporting the secret illegal organisation”, which it did not name, and sentenced him to seven years in jail and deportation after he completes his term, the UAE state news agency,
“(Jaidah) supported the organisation financially and morally by contacting its leaders and trying to mediate differences within the group on administrative matters,” the agency said. Two Emirati citizens were also convicted of supporting the group and each received five-year sentences, WAM said. The court’s rulings cannot be appealed. UAE authorities detained Mahmoud Al Jaidah at Dubai airport on February 26, last year on charges of supporting Al Islah, a group banned in the UAE for its alleged link to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Al Islah denies any such link, but says it shares some of the Brotherhood’s Islamist ideology. Hassan Al Jaidah, son of Al Jaidah on his Twitter account yesterday, expressed shock and surprise over the verdict.
Al Jaidah was detained at Dubai airport on his way to Doha from Bangkok. Hassan said he was kept in detention for almost nine months before charges were filed against him on November 18.
The verdict went viral on social networking sites yesterday, with people expressing mixed reactions. “What if he is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood… Allah will punish the judge, the court and the leadership for this unfair verdict,” said a commentator.
“The dignity of human beings is being tarnished by killing, arrest, and torture of people without reason. This is against the teachings of Islam,” said another.
Another comment said the Mahmoud Al Jaidah was being used as a tool by the UAE authorities to pressure Qatar.
“I expect articles from editor-in-chiefs to explain the case of Mahmoud Al Jaidah and why he was not allowed to challenge the verdict,” read a post.
“Thousands of Qatari citizens visit the UAE every year. We respect them and make them feel at home but not at the cost of state security,” said another commentator responding to those who said the verdict was unfair.
A commentator hoped Al Jaidah would be set free by a pardon by the UAE President on some special occasion like Eid.