United Arab Emirates jails 11 for trying to establish al-Qaida affiliate, aiding rebel groups

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State-owned newspapers in the United Arab Emirates say a security court has sentenced 11 people to jail terms ranging between three years and life after finding them guilty of trying to set up an al-Qaida affiliate in the Gulf nation and aiding rebels fighting in Syria.

The National and al-Ittihad newspapers reported the convictions Wednesday against the defendants, whose charges included joining the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the conservative Muslim rebel group Ahrar al-Sham in Syria.

The National says four Emiratis tried in absentia received life sentences. Seven other men, including citizens of the Emirates, Syria and the Comoros Islands, received between three and 15 years imprisonment. Four other defendants were acquitted.

The National says all defendants who appeared in court denied charges against them.