The State Security Court of the UAE Federal Supreme Court today announced the verdicts of 94 Emiratis accused of various charges including a plot to overthrow the UAE government, according to a statement from the Ministry of Justice.
While 61 of the defendants’ were given differing jail terms, the rest were acquitted of the charges, reported official news agency WAM.
Eight men were sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison, 56 were jailed for 10 years and five for seven years.
The defendants were accused of charges related to the violation of UAE Penal Code Articles 155, 160, 169, 170, 171, 180 and 182.
Importantly, Article 180 relates to the “establishing, instituting, founding, organising, administering or joining an association, corporation, organisation or any branch thereof, with the aim of overthrowing the regime of the State, or publicising it where the use of force is noticeable.”
In the WAM statement, the justice ministry stressed that the court’s proceedings were transparent, fair and independent, with more than 500 observers in attendance at each court hearing, including family members of the defendants, representatives of the national media and the Emirates Human Rights Association.
“Human rights advocates in the UAE are given all judicial and administrative guarantees to carry out their activities without restrictions within the provisions of law,” the statement said.
“The case was investigated, prosecuted and tried before an independent judiciary in full compliance with the applicable procedural, evidentiary and legal standards of the UAE judicial system,” it added.
The verdicts of the trial cannot be appealed, and those found guilty will begin serving their sentences immediately, including time already served.
“The UAE Ministry of Justice remains committed to contributing to the ongoing maintenance of a safe and secure environment and the freedom of movement for all UAE citizens and residents whilst ensuring the full application of the due process of law in the event of suspected threats to national security,” the statement concluded.