x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Activists accused of criticising Government face more testimony

Prosecution witnesses continue to address court; next hearing for the five accused is set for September 26.

ABU DHABI // The third hearing for five activists accused of insulting the ruling families and threatening state security ended this afternoon after two witnesses testified for more than five hours.

Eight prosecution witnesses have been called, according to the office of Abdul Hameed Al Kumaiti, one of the lawyers defending the activists. Two witnesses also testified last week.

Ahmed Mansour Ali Abdullah Al Abd Al Shehi, Nasser Ahmed Khalfan bin Gaith, Fahad Salim Mohammed Salim Dalk, Hassan Ali Al Khamis and Ahmed Abdul Khaleq have denied the charges at earlier hearings.

The Emirati men face charges including crimes of instigation; breaking laws and perpetrating acts that pose a threat to state security; undermining public order; opposing the government system; and insulting the President, the Vice President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Separately, civil lawsuits brought be Emiratis against the five men for causing psychological harm with their criticism were rejected today because the plaintiffs did not have standing, Mr Al Kumaiti's office said.

The men remain jailed. Their next hearing will be on September 26, when more witnesses will testify.