UAE to try 94 citizens accused of plotting to overthrow state

28 January 2013

Attorney-general says group ran secret Islamist organisation with links to Muslim Brotherhood

The UAE will put to trial 94 citizens accused of forming an Islamist organisation with the aim of overthrowing the state, according to the country’s Attorney-General Salem Saeed Kubaish.

Sate investigations found the group had “launched, established and ran an organisation seeking to oppose the basic principles of the UAE system of governance and to seize power”, Kubaish said in a statement on the official Emirates News Agency (Wam).

The accused had built a “secret organisation structure” and “communicated with the international Muslim Brotherhood and other similar organisations based outside the state, and asked them for help, expertise and financial support”, it was added.

The UAE has been quick to clamp down on any signs of anti-state activism in the wake of the Arab Uprisings in 2011, which led to the fall of four governments in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

At least 50 Emiratis were arrested in the summer of 2012, including two prominent human rights lawyers, as part of a crackdown on dissent.

In November, the UAE introduced a comprehensive new decree on combating cyber crimes, which includes imprisonment for publishing online any information deemed to threaten the security of the state or violate public order.

In his statement Kubaish said the accused had used “the media and the social networking sites on the internet to order to turn nationals against their government and the leaders of the state”.

Non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has criticised the arrests, saying the allegations against human rights defenders and activists are being used as a tool to impede legitimate human rights work.

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