Wednesday, July 3, 2013

UAE sentences 69 in mass coup plot trial

Sixty-nine of 94 Emiratis on trial for sedition were found guilty on Tuesday and sentenced to jail terms of up to 15 years. Judge Falah Al Hajeri (picture) acquitted 25 accused, including all 13 women. Eight men tried in their absence were sentenced to 15 years in prison. Of the others, 56 were jailed for 10 years to be followed by three years’ probation and five men were jailed for seven years.
Judge Falah Al Hajeri acquitted 25 accused, including all 13 women. Picture courtesy of WAM.
Judge Al-Hajeri
State Security officials were ordered to seize financial assets from some of the guilty men, including Dh1.1 million from a front company used by the group, and a farm and two buildings.
The judge also ordered the closure of three educational centres run by the group and five websites, including that of Al Islah.
The 94 were accused of being members of a secret political organisation whose goal was to undermine the nation’s rulers and ultimately lead to the downfall of the Government. Prosecutors claimed that the group al-Islah — which was headed by the ruler's cousin al-Qasimi — was influenced by Muslim Brotherhood ideology to oppose the Western-oriented system in the UAE. The suspects rejected the claims, saying the group only supported Islamic viewpoints and conducted needed social outreach in poorer areas of the country beyond the skylines of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The State Security Court was packed with relatives, human-rights organisations, media and bailiffs awaiting the verdict.
 All 94 – most of whom were former teachers, professors, lawyers, judges and writers – had denied the charges. Some had admitted affiliation to the organisation, but insisted it was not linked to the Brotherhood and sought nothing more than “reform”.

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