Life sentence for UAE man whose wife murdered US citizen

AP News
|
Posted: May 09, 2016 9:35 AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A court in the United Arab Emirates handed a life sentence on Monday to the husband of an Emirati woman who was executed for the murder of an American school teacher.

Abu Dhabi-based The National reported that Mohammed al-Hashemi, 34, was found guilty by the UAE's Federal Supreme Court of planning to assassinate one of the country's leaders and of plotting to blow up the race track that hosts the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix, as well as a nearby Ikea furniture store in Abu Dhabi.

Prosecutors had also accused him of transferring nearly $22,000 to support al-Qaida and of pledging allegiance online with his wife to the Islamic State group. The couple had six children together.

Al-Hashemi denied the charges and told the court his wife had been the one using their computer to visit extremist websites.

His lawyer had told the court al-Hashemi was a civil servant and a committed father who had enrolled his sons in private schools to give them a good life, according to The National, a state-run newspaper.

He said the chemicals seized in his house, such as Clorox, aluminum and gunpowder from fireworks, could not have been used to manufacture explosives, saying some came from parts of broken toys. He said the prosecution's claim of financial transfers to al-Qaida had shown discrepancies.

The National said al-Hashemi was known to authorities for holding radical views and was detained in November 2014, a month before his wife, Alaa al-Hashemi, stabbed to death an American woman. According to the newspaper, she had told police at the time of her arrest that she'd committed the murder to avenge her husband's arrest. She was found guilty of the murder and executed in July 2015.

The murder of schoolteacher Ibolya Ryan, 47, left a trail of blood in the public restroom at a mall in Abu Dhabi's upscale Reem Island. The attacker wore the full black garment and face veil traditionally worn by local women throughout the Gulf.

Ryan, who had three children, had been living in Abu Dhabi with her 11 year-old twins. She had taught elementary school in Colorado before moving to the UAE.

Police said the attacker had targeted her victim based on nationality alone in an attempt to create chaos in the country. She had also planted a bomb outside another American's house that was discovered before it could be detonated.

Such murders are rare in the United Arab Emirates, which has not faced militant attacks like those in other Gulf countries. The UAE is part of the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State group.