x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

UAE human-rights group approves 'smooth' trial of 94 charged with sedition

The Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA) says proceedings in the first court hearing was transparent and smooth.

The Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA) says proceedings in the first court hearing into an alleged illegal secret organisation went smoothly and in a very transparent manner.

In a statement to the state news agency Wam, EHRA said it took part in the hearing, held at the State Security Court.

"The hearing went very smoothly, where the judge allowed the defendants the right to speak and to express their demands through the defence lawyers," the association said.

EHRA said the defendants looked in good health and there was no evidence of torture.

Each of the defendants spoke in their defence and some of them said that they had been tortured when arrested, the association said.

It said two of them, RMR and AH, claimed they had been subjected to enforced disappearances for five months.

The defendants denied all charges and their lawyers demanded their immediate release.

The association called for investigations into claims of abuses by some of the defendants.

It also called to have the defendants moved to prisons where they could have all rights granted to other prisoners, such as phone calls, visits by their relatives and meetings with their lawyers.

The EHRA also urged the Attorney General to provide full protection to the defendant AS and his family.

It asked for investigations into AS's claims that he was against the secret organisation, called for it be disbanded and sought protection from the court for his life and that of his family.