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Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Monday, 12 October 2009 11:26 UK

UAE jails man for 'terror links'

Naji Hamdan
Naji Hamdan lived in the US for 20 years

A court in the United Arab Emirates has convicted a US citizen of Lebanese origin on terrorism-related charges and sentenced him to 18 months in prison.

Defendant Naji Hamdan pleaded not guilty to the charges, including having links with Islamist militants in Iraq and said he confessed under torture.

He has been held for more than a year and could be freed soon because the sentence takes account of time served.

Reports say the accusations related to his activities on the internet.

The case has drawn criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union who referred the case to the US government saying there was insufficient evidence for a trial in US courts.

Mr Hamdan, 48, lived in the United States for 20 years where he ran an car parts business, and he moved to the UAE in 2006.

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

He was also reportedly alleged to have copied and reposted an item from an Islamist website, but his lawyer argued this did not constitute in crime in the UAE.

In all, he faced three terrorism-related charges. It was not clear after the verdict whether he had been found guilty of all or some of the charges.

The verdict by the Federal Supreme Court cannot be appealed.

But Mr Hamdan was detained in August 2008 and the 14 months he has already spent in jail will reportedly be counted as part of his sentence.



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