A woman accused of stabbing to death an American teacher in the United Arab Emirates said she has a mental illness and is "possessed by evil spirits."
On December 1 of last year, Alaa Bader al-Hashemi allegedly murdered 47-year-old American teacher Ibolya Ryan, a mother of two, in a shopping mall restroom in Abu Dhabi.
AFP reported on Tuesday that, in her trial at a UAE security court, al-Hashemi requested psychological help and said she sees "ghost-like people," and has "unreal vision" due to a mental illness.
Al-Hashemi is also on trial for attempted murder after she placed a makeshift bomb outside the front door of an Egyptian-American doctor living in the UAE. That incident took place less than two hours after killing Ryan, police said, adding that the bomb was safely dismantled.
Attacks on Westerners are rare in the UAE, a wealthy western-allied oil exporter and tourism hub, but concern has been rising following a spate of attacks in neighboring Saudi Arabia and after a warning in October about a jihadist web forum calling for attacks on American teachers in the region.Reuters contributed to this report.