Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 17:17 UK

UAE confession was 'under duress'

Naji Hamdan
Naji Hamdan lived in the US for 20 years

The lawyer for a US citizen on trial in the United Arab Emirates says his client was tortured into a confession.

Naji Hamdan, who is of Lebanese origin, is charged with supporting terrorism and belonging to Iraqi militant group Ansar al-Sunna.

He has denied the allegations and says he was beaten by UAE security forces into signing a confession.

The charges carry a penalty of 10 to 15 years in jail followed by deportation. A verdict is due on 12 October 2009.

UAE public prosecutors say that while living in the United States Mr Hamdan donated US $2,000 to an unnamed Islamic charity. This is alleged to have financed the firing of two rockets on Israel.

His attorney, Abdel-Qadir al-Haithami, said all the evidence against his client relied on "testimony which was given under duress".

'Not competent'

Allegations that Hamdan copied and reposted an item from an Islamist website did not constitute in crime in the UAE, the lawyer added.

Mr Hamdan lived in the United States for 20 years where he ran an car parts business, but moved to the UAE in 2006.

Mr Haithami also argued that the UAE courts were not competent to hear the case since the alleged crimes were committed in the US.

The American Civil Liberties Union said US authorities referred the case to the Gulf state because there was insufficient evidence for a trial in US courts.

Mr Hamdan was detained in August 2008.

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