Nine suspected al-Qaida members accused of plotting attacks in the United Arab Emirates have gone on trial in Abu Dhabi's state security court, newspapers reported Tuesday.
A first hearing was held Monday, and the case adjourned until May 19 to allow for defense lawyers to be appointed, the reports said.
The nine accused of forming an al-Qaida cell, including one being tried in absentia, are Arab nationals, most of them from North Africa, according to Al-Khaleej newspaper.
They are charged with "planning attacks damaging to the country's security and (foreign) residents."
The indictment also accuses them of having "recruited, financed and given logistical support to al-Qaida" and attempting "to extend their activities to other countries in the region."
Abu Dhabi announced in April 2013 having dismantled an al-Qaida cell planning attacks in the United Arab Emirates, one of the stablest countries in the Middle East.
The UAE, like its neighboring fellow monarchies in the Gulf, emerged unscathed from the wave of Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.
But dozens of Emiratis and Egyptians have been jailed in past months for forming cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed in Egypt and accused of seeking to overthrow the Gulf monarchies.
Foreigners account for more than 85 percent of the estimated UAE population of eight million, lured by work opportunities in the oil-rich country.
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