x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

UAE sedition trial: Defendants seek compensation

Suspects deny involvement in secret organisation formed with aim of overthrowing the Government during the 11th session of the trial.

A further 25 of the 94 defendants being tried for sedition yesterday presented their defence.

During the 11th session at the State Security Court, the 25 Emiratis also asked for compensation for alleged psychological, physical and social trouble they have been through during the case.

The first to speak, SQ, said: "We were accused with no evidence, as I see it".

Another defendant, K N, said he was accused of starting a television channel financed by the organisation Al Islah and providing training to young men. He denied having media links with the group.

"They link Al Islah to the Arab Spring and say they have been monitoring us since 2010," he continued.

"Strangely, the revolutions began in 2011 and not 2010."

One defendant broke down and cried while denying the charges against him.

"If we have in any way said or done what offends the state by mistake, we are humans and we make mistakes," he said. "But we have never heard or spoken of this until we were arrested."

AJ said he had stopped any activities relating to Al Islah in 2009, due to his father's medical condition. "The prosecution did not have evidence of any meeting or activity that I have attended," he said.

A female defendant, NY, said she has not been in contact with the other women in the case for 15 years.

"How can I commit such a crime when I have been separated from them for so long?" she asked.

Another defendant, SD, said recordings of him speaking about the Arab Spring were only his personal view and not related to the country.

"I spoke generally, of facts happening around the world. I did not mention our country nor our leaders," he added.

IH denied being a member of the "investment committee".

"I didn't know any of the defendants who were also said to be in the investment committee," he claimed. "And to my surprise I realised they all met each other in this court room."

He was also accused of giving another defendant Dh100,000 to invest in the organisation. "The defendant is right here in court, ask him," he added.

The defendants are accused of creating a secret organisation with the aim of overthrowing the government.

The case resumes next Monday.