Mother 'lured into jihad' is executed for murder
An Emirati woman said to have been lured into Islamist militancy by her husband was executed yesterday for stabbing to death an American teacher in an Abu Dhabi shopping mall.
Alaa Bader al-Hashemi (30) was caught on CCTV of the Boutik Mall behaving oddly in the women's toilets before and after the killing.
A court had heard she engineered a confrontation with Ibolya Ryan (47), a Romanian-born American teacher and mother of three, before stabbing her to death. The speed of her execution, just two weeks after the verdict and death sentence were handed down and only seven months after the killing, is most likely intended to send a message to the UAE's large expatriate population that they are well-protected.
It may also be intended to signal that there will be zero tolerance of extremism in the country, which has one of the toughest records in the region on Islamist groups.
Hashemi's full motives were never clear, and there are rumours in the UAE that she was part of a broader militant conspiracy.
A mother of six children aged between nine months and 10 years, she told investigators that her husband, Mohammed al-Habashi al-Hashemi, had been a militant supporter who made her watch and listen to recordings of jihadist leaders such as Osama bin Laden.
Prosecutors said she watched videos on bomb-making and beheading, and she also sent money to al-Qa'ida in Yemen.
Hashemi decided to take direct action herself after her husband was arrested last November. She said she was "seeking vengeance" for her husband and wanted to spread fear among American, British and French expatriates.
She scouted the Boutik Mall, on Abu Dhabi's Reem Island, before driving back in her husband's car, hiding a knife in her sock.
She passed up her first potential victim - an unidentified British woman - because she had a pram with a baby in it.
She then attacked Mrs Ryan, who lived in Abu Dhabi with her twin daughters aged 11, and whose 13-year-old son lived with her ex-husband in Vienna.
Hashemi then drove to the house of an Egyptian-American doctor, Mohammed Hassan Hassan, and planted a bomb outside. It failed to go off. (©Daily Telegraph, London)