UAE Jails 2 Lebanese, 1 Lebanese-Canadian For 6 Months for Hezbollah Links

The Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah vowed to maintain its "jihad" in neighboring Syria at a huge rally in Beirut on Wednesday, a day after its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the war was in a phase of escalation. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

DUBAI, April 5 – A United Arab Emirates court sentenced two Lebanese nationals and a Lebanese-Canadian citizen to six months in jail followed by expulsion for setting up a group affiliated to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, local media said on Monday.

The state news agency WAM did not identify the three but said they had set up a group of “international nature” linked to Hezbollah without a license.

The English language Gulf News said the three, a Canadian Lebanese and two Lebanese nationals aged 62, 66 and 30, were convicted of setting up an office for Hezbollah and carrying out commercial, economic and political activities without licences.

The court said the charges date back to before October 2014. The UAE in November 2014 published a list of groups the cabinet had designated as terrorist organisations, including two affiliates of Hezbollah group in the Gulf.

In February, the UAE along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait – all U.S.-allied Sunni Muslim states – declared the Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organisation and warned any citizen or expatriate against any links to it.

Hezbollah has backed the government side in Syria’s civil war while Sunni Gulf Arab states have supported rebels bent on toppling President Bashar al-Assad.

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