A court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has convicted 69 Islamists of plotting to overthrow the ruling regime. Ten of the accused were convicted in absentia.
Al-Itihadiyya Court, the sentences of which are not subject to appeal, gave jail terms ranging from 7 to 15 years. It acquitted 2 others accused of the same charges. All property belonging to the 69 has been confiscated.
No foreign media or international human rights observers were allowed into the court to report on the trial. Relatives of the accused were also banned from attending the trial proceedings. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and Al-Karameh said that they received a message from the detainees dated June 27 claiming that they were "subjected to regular mistreatment, including torture" while being held in custody.
The trial of 94 affiliates of the UAE Reform Organisation, which is said to be connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, began in March. The accused were detained last year for their alleged "connection to a secret organisation aiming to overthrow the ruling regime." All denied the charge and claimed in an open letter to the UAE head of state that they are dedicated to the country's constitution, stability and safety.
One of those sentenced was Shaikh Sultan bin Kayed al-Qassimi, the cousin of the ruler of Ras Al-Khaimah, one of the UAE's seven emirates.