Emirates jails dozens over ‘plot to topple govt.’

Emirates jails dozens over ‘plot to topple govt.’
Tue Jul 2, 2013 13:06:30

A top court in the United Arab Emirates has sentenced 64 dissidents to prison terms of up 15 years on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government.

The Federal Supreme Court sentenced 56 of the 94 defendants to between seven and 10 years in prison, and jailed eight others tried in absentia for 15 years, a local television said Tuesday.

Twenty five others were acquitted.

The fate of the remaining five was not immediately clear.

Prosecutors say the accused are linked to the Al-Islah group, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Political movements are banned in the UAE.

The latest trial was the largest in the history of the Persian Gulf country.

The defendants, among them lawyers, university professors and students, were arrested between March and December 2012 for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.

Rights groups say some of the detainees had been subjected to systematic mistreatment including torture.

Only selected relatives of the defendants, local journalists and representatives of human rights groups were allowed to attend the trial at the country's top security court.

UAE attorney general Salem Kobaish in February accused the defendants of having formed a "secret organization" which was in contact with individuals and organizations "abroad", including the Brotherhood, and had also created or invested in real estate firms to finance their organization.

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