The conviction of 69 Emiratis accused of a coup plot marks the end of a landmark trial in the UAEs 41-year history. The verdict was the culmination of Abu Dhabis well publicised crackdown on anti-state activism following revolutions elsewhere in the Arab world, which spooked Gulf monarchies into rooting out domestic signs of political unrest.
A total of 94 citizens were accused of being members of a secret organisation with the aim of overthrowing the state. Announcing the trial in January, the UAEs Attorney-General Saeed Kubaish said investigations had found the group communicated with the Muslim Brotherhood and other similar organisations outside the state.
The UAE has been the most vocal in the Gulf region about the perceived threat of the Muslim Brotherhood over the last two years. In June, Dubai police chief, Dahi Khalfan Tamim, described the Islamist group as a grave danger to Gulf security, saying it was interfering more and more in the internal affairs of the Gulf monarchies.
There have been divisions in opinion over the level of transparency given to the trial. Abu Dhabi claims that the hearings were open to 500 observers including the media, but international human rights organisations say the defendants, which all pleaded not guilty, were denied the right to a fair trial.
While the national media gave ample column inches to the trial after the 2 July verdict, little information has emerged on the alleged coup plot for which the 69 were convicted.
By bringing further details to light in the coming weeks, Abu Dhabi could help quell criticism of the proceedings, which it has been quick to rebuke. The convicted have been denied the right of appeal.