U.A.E. to Prosecute 41 Accused of Trying to Establish Caliphate

The United Arab Emirates plans to try 41 people charged with forming a terrorist group bent on establishing an Islamic caliphate in the second-largest Arab economy.

The accused come from several countries, including the U.A.E., state-run WAM news agency reported Sunday. They will be tried in the country’s highest court, the Federal Supreme Court.

The U.A.E. is part of the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State, the jihadist group that has set up a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria. Group leaders have responded to the coalition strikes by urging supporters to target citizens of the U.S. and its allies.

The 41 who are to stand trial planned to “carry out terrorism activity inside the U.A.E.,” WAM quoted Attorney General Salem Saeed Kubeish as saying. Their aim was “undermining the state’s authority and building a so-called caliphate state,” he said.

Kubeish said the group had acquired arms, ammunition and explosive materials, and made contact with terrorist groups outside the country. The group sent recruits to training camps to teach them to use arms and explosives, he said.

The U.A.E. has been clamping down on political Islam and radical groups. In July, it executed a citizen convicted of killing an American schoolteacher at an Abu Dhabi mall.

Last year, it put nine people on trial on charges of setting up an al-Qaeda cell, planning to bomb U.A.E. landmarks, sending funds to al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra group and trying to recruit Emiratis, The National newspaper reported.