Emirates, three Lebanese charged with creating Hezbollah affiliated group

The trio will have to serve a sentence of six months in prison. Upon expiry of the terms of custody they will be expelled. They have also done business, economic and political, "without the necessary permits." A satirical cartoon and an offensive placard further exacerbate relations between Beirut and Riyadh.


Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A United Arab Emirates court (UAE) has sentenced three Lebanese citizens to prison, one of them with dual Canadian and Lebanese citizenship, for having formed - allegedly - a local movement affiliated with Hezbollah.

 According to reports from the Ittihad newspaper, the Federal Supreme Court has sentenced the three men to six months in prison. In its judgment the court said that the trio was forming a point "group for the [terrorists] Hezbollah in the country".

Local sources also add that once the three Lebanese citizens have served their sentence, they will be expelled from the UAE. The condemnation came yesterday confirming the progressive deterioration in relations between Lebanon and Arab nations, with the governments of the region threatening to expel Lebanese citizens and block their bank accounts.

Reporting the condemnation, the Gulf News said that the judges also questioned "the commercial, economic and political conduct without the necessary permits”.

The three convicted are Canadian-Lebanese citizen Suhail Gareeb Naif, 62, the Lebanese Asaad Ameen Qansouh 66 years and 30 year-old Lebanese Ahmed Ebrahim Qansou.

Hezbollah is a Shiite militant armed group disliked by Riyadh and the Arab states of the region, whose influence in Lebanese politics has grown more in recent decades. Allies and supported by Iran, they have put their military force at the service of the Syrian President Assad in fighting the al-Nusra Front (Al-Qaeda) and the Islamic state (IS), inflicting heavy defeats.

Last month the Arab League declared the Lebanese Shiite movement "terrorist", following a similar decision taken earlier by the Gulf monarchies for the movement’s alleged interference in Yemen and Iraq.

Meanwhile, a new front has opened in the conflict between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, over a satirical cartoon published last week by the Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat, likening the Land of the Cedars to an April fool. In response, in the following days some nationalists have posted a billboard on the Nahr el-Mott highway, very critical of Saudi Arabia. The gesture resulted - albeit with a few caveats - in a wave of Lebanese political condemnations.

The bilboard, exposed on a large scroll director in  a predominantly Christian area, is depicts the words "machinery of death", a reference to the Saudi royal family, and a bloody saber, another reference to the Wahhabi kingdom, ready to sever the head of a person. It was removed after a few hours by Lebanese security forces.

It should also be added that Riyadh has recently carried out two other death sentences bringing to 84 the total number of people put to death so far this year.