Portuguese / Spanish / English

Middle East Near You

UAE court sentences six Lebanese to jail in Hezbollah trial

Supporters of the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah gather during a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah on 13 August 2017 [Ali Dia/Anadolu Agency]
Supporters of the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah gather during a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah on 13 August 2017 [Ali Dia/Anadolu Agency]

The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday jailed six Lebanese men, four of them for life, for setting up a terrorist cell with links to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the state news agency WAM reported, Reuters reports.

The UAE Federal Court sentenced two of the six men to 10 years each in jail and acquitted five others, WAM said.

The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait – all US-allied Sunni Muslim states – classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 2016 and warned its citizens and resident expatriates against any links to it.

The 11 defendants, all of them Shi’ite Muslims who have lived and worked in the UAE for more than 15 years, were arrested in late 2017 and early 2018. They were charged in February with establishing a cell linked to the Hezbollah group, backed by Shi’ite Iran.

Rights groups have said the men did not receive a fair trial. Amnesty International said eight of them had been held in solitary confinement for more than a year, which can amount to torture.

READ: Lebanese resident’s plea to Nasrallah infuriates Saudi prince 

“They were also denied access to their lawyers from the beginning of the trial; a number of the men claimed they had been tortured to sign so-called confessions but there have been no investigations into these claims,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.

The Emirati government did not respond immediately to a Reuters request for comment.

UAE media, tightly controlled by the state, previously said the group had been accused of plotting under Hezbollah orders to bomb a “vital facility” in the oil-exporting Gulf state.

A UAE court sentenced seven people to up to life in prison in 2016 for setting up a Hezbollah-linked cell.

The UAE is a tourism and trade hub for the Middle East, but tolerates little public criticism of its monarchy or policies and has been waging a war against political Islam.

Categories
LebanonMiddle EastNewsUAE
Show Comments
The Palestine Question in Europe - MEMO and EuroPal Forum Conference
Show Comments