ABU DHABI: Two Pakistani brothers accused of collecting money and recruiting jihadists for al-Qaeda have gone on trial in the United Arab Emirates, a daily reported on Tuesday.
The Pakistanis are accused of collecting money and recruiting people for al-Qaeda appeared in court on Monday, The National reported.
The pair, charged with “running a jihadi organisation and aiding and abetting al-Qaeda,” have confessed to having links with the jihadist network, the court was told according to the report.
They also “had direct communication with a senior member of al-Qaeda,” the daily said without elaborating.
The report only identified the suspects as “AkW,” a 49-year-old project manager, and “AsW,” a 43-year-old marketing manager, and said they arrived in the Gulf emirate in 2008.
The two men “were arrested by UAE security forces at AsW's home” in the northern UAE emirate of Ras al-Khaimah in April, “after a tip-off from the Pakistani authorities,” said the daily.
However, they told Monday's hearing “their confessions to having links with al-Qaeda had been obtained under duress.”
Prosecutors allege AkW sent “two laptop computers, two telescopes, two pencil torches, two Swiss army knives and a tent” to “Islamist militants” in Pakistan.
“His brother is accused of being an accomplice,” they were cited as saying in the report.
The equipment was sent to the remote Pakistani region of Wazirstan, bordering Afghanistan.
Prosecutors said they found a message on AkW's computer sent to Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, al-Qaeda's purported number three and Osama bin Laden's former treasurer who was later killed in a drone strike, on May 21.
AkW categorically denied the court charges, saying that “all his actions were done out of goodwill,” The National reported.
The equipment was sent to his two nephews, who had medical training and worked for Lahore-based religious group Tanzeem e-Islami's social relief wing “headed by Sultan Hafiz, also known as Sheikh Saeed,” the daily quoted AkW as saying.
The prosecution charged that “both AkW and Sheikh Saeed were in direct communication” with Yazid before his death, it added.
The case was adjourned based on the the request of one of their three Emirati lawyers, the daily said without specifying the date of the next hearing.