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UAE orders trial for 84 individuals on ‘terrorism’ charges

State media reported on Saturday that the United Arab Emirates will prosecute 84 people for terrorism-related crimes, ten years after a similar case against dissidents.

The trial was ordered by the attorney general, who said that most of the defendants belonged to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, according to the official WAM news agency.

In 2013, the UAE prosecuted 94 people, including activists, lawyers, students, and teachers, for being part of the illegal Muslim Brotherhood. The trial was condemned by human rights organisations.

Of the 94, 69 were sentenced to prison terms, and many are still behind bars. WAM said that some of them will face new charges in the current trial.

The news agency said that the defendants were accused of “forming a secret organisation to carry out violent and terrorist acts on UAE territory.”

It also said that the defendants had “hidden this crime and its evidence before they were arrested and tried” in 2013.

WAM said that a six-month investigation had found “enough evidence” for the attorney general to initiate the new trial.

Human Rights Watch said in December that the defendants were being punished “for creating an independent advocacy group in 2010”.

The New York-based rights group said that other jailed dissidents, such as human rights activist Ahmed Mansour, were also charged.

Mansour was given a 10-year prison sentence in 2018 for criticising the government and damaging the country’s reputation on social media.

“Bringing new charges based on peaceful activism from over a decade ago seems like nothing more than a brazen excuse to keep these men in prison,” said Michael Page, the deputy regional director of HRW.

On Saturday, Emirati authorities said that the defendants had legal counsel, and that the State Security Court had “started listening to witnesses and the public trial procedures were underway”.


By dworldgist.com

Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of www.dworldgist.com and www.gospelrespec.com. He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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