UAE: verdicts expected in case of 30 men accused of setting up Muslim Brotherhood branch
‘The list of failings in the trial so far has been astonishing’ - Said Boumedouha
Amnesty International has warned that 20 Egyptian and ten UAE nationals face being wrongfully convicted when verdicts - expected tomorrow - are delivered in a “grossly unfair” trial involving charges that the group set up an “international” branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United Arab Emirates.
The 30 men, who all deny the charges, are also accused of other vague national security charges including stealing and distributing secret information from the security services or failing to notify the authorities about the theft. If convicted, the defendants will have no right to appeal contrary to the UAE’s obligations under international law.
The case has been littered with irregularities, with arrests made without judicial warrants, allegedly falsified arrest dates being used in court documents, and defendants being subjected to months of secret detention and solitary confinement without access to a lawyer. Many defendants have also told the court that they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated, including with the use of electric shocks, and some have said they were forced to sign “confessions” admitting their guilt. A relative of one of the defendants told Amnesty last week of inhumane treatment at al-Razeen Prison in Abu Dhabi, where a number of the detainees are being held. Prison guards there have conducted sudden night-time raids on prison cells.
Amnesty considers at least three of the men - Mohammed al-Mansoori, Hussain Ali Alnajjar Alhammadi and Saleh Mohammed al-Dhufairi - prisoners of conscience held solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association, and Amnesty is calling for these to be released immediately and unconditionally. All ten of the UAE nationals have already been tried and convicted last July following an unfair trial in a separate case.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Said Boumedouha said:
“The list of failings in the trial so far has been astonishing.
“The vague charges do not appear to constitute internationally-recognisable criminal offences.
“We urge the UAE authorities to review the very basis of the men’s arrest. End this charade and give these men a fair trial.”
The ten UAE nationals were convicted last July along with 59 others during a mass trial that became known as the “UAE 94” trial in which activists were accused of trying to overthrow the government. That trial was marred by concerns over allegations of torture and ill-treatment of the defendants who were also denied access to their lawyers for many months. At least four of those convicted have been identified by Amnesty as prisoners of conscience, including human rights lawyer Dr Mohammed al-Roken. Their families have also been harassed.
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