x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Activists in court for second time

Five Emirati activists who were arrested in April make a second court appearance.

ABU DHABI // The trial of five activists charged with threatening national security and insulting the Rulers continued at the State Security Court yesterday.

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.

During the hearing, which was held behind closed doors, two of eight witnesses gave evidence. The case will continue next Monday when the other six witnesses will appear.

The five men - 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 - denied all charges in court for the second time, before a new judge.

Two prosecution witnesses who are internet and IT experts told the court they had the technology to trace the alleged insults published on the internet back to the online aliases used by the accused. The defence team did not cross-examine the witnesses or present their case in court yesterday, according to a defence lawyer.

In addition, eight lawyers are taking legal action against the activists on behalf of Emiratis who are claiming compensation for psychological damage they say was caused by the statements the men are accused of making.