The UAE, a U.S. ally and major oil exporter, was rattled by the
rise of Islamists in the aftermath of the uprisings that rocked the
Arab world from 2011.
It watched with relief as Egypt's army toppled Islamist president
Mohamed Mursi, who is from the Brotherhood, in July after mass
protests against his rule and has poured in billions of dollars to
support the army chief who deposed him.
The Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi handed the men sentences
ranging from three months and five years in prison, state news
agency WAM said on Tuesday, without elaborating.
Twenty Egyptians, six of them tried in absentia, and 10 Emiratis,
had been charged with setting up an illegal branch of the Muslim
Brotherhood in the UAE, stealing and airing state security secrets
and collecting funds illegally.
The defendants had denied all the charges, a family member of one of
the detainees told Reuters after the opening of the trial in
The relative added some of the Egyptians had said they were
physically abused in custody and their confessions were obtained
The UAE denies using torture. In November, WAM said the court had
ordered medical tests for some of the defendants.
"UNFAIR POLITICAL TRIALS"
On Monday, Amnesty International called on the UAE to end the
"downward cycle of unfair political trials".
The London-based group said it considered at least three of the
defendants — Mohammed al-Mansoori, Hussain Alhammadi and Saleh
al-Dhufairi — to be "prisoners of conscience".
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A source close to the UAE government told Reuters: "The trial took
place in a transparent manner. The proceedings went according to the
legal and juridical laws and regulations in the UAE."
The 10 Emiratis who were convicted on Tuesday are among 61 Islamists
convicted by a UAE court in July of plotting to overthrow the
government, activists said.
Many of the jailed Islamists are members of the al-Islah group,
which the UAE says has links to the Brotherhood. Al-Islah denies any
Thanks to its state-sponsored cradle-to-grave welfare system, the
UAE has largely avoided the unrest that has unseated long-serving
Arab rulers elsewhere in the region.
But it has shown little tolerance towards dissent. Dozens of people
have been detained since 2011 and most were tried and convicted of
planning to overthrow the government.
(Writing by Rania El Gamal; editing by Yara Bayoumy and Andrew
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