July 13, 2015 / 5:05 AM / 4 years ago

UAE woman executed for killing American teacher

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates executed a UAE woman convicted of terrorism early on Monday after the militant-inspired killing of an American kindergarten teacher in December 2014, the state news agency WAM reported.

Ala’a Badr Abdullah al-Hashemi, 31, was sentenced to death on June 29 for stabbing Romanian-born Ibolya Ryan, a mother of 11-year-old twins, in the toilet of an Abu Dhabi shopping mall and attempting to bomb an American-Egyptian doctor.

Hashemi was also convicted of setting up a social media account to spread militant ideology with the intention of undermining the government and, and of giving money to militant organizations for attacks, WAM reported.

The report did not disclose how Hashemi was executed.

Police said last year Hashemi had become radicalised over the internet and had not been targeting an American in particular, but was looking for a foreigner to kill at random.

Attacks on Westerners are rare in the UAE, a wealthy oil exporter and tourism hub, but concern has been rising after a spate of Islamist attacks in other Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The UAE has joined air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State group, which has urged Muslims in Gulf countries to target Western expatriates in retaliation for attacks against it. The UAE is also a strong opponent of other Islamist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abu Dhabi-based daily The National reported that Hashemi had told prosecutors that she committed the crimes because her husband, suspected of militant connections, had been taken into custody by State Security for questioning.

She was seeking vengeance for her husband and wanted to create fear, especially for American, British and French expatriates, she said.

But at her trial she also claimed that a mental illness was behind her actions and described herself as being possessed by evil spirits. During her trial she occasionally burst into tears or bouts of laughter, the newspaper said.

A medical report commissioned by the court found she was sane.

Dubai ruler and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum wrote in a newspaper article in September 2014 that the militant ideology behind Islamic State was “the greatest danger that the world will face in the next decade”.

Reporting By Angus McDowall and Ali Abdelatti; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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