x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE trial: Nine Brotherhood accused fail to turn up in court

Nine Emiratis accused of running a Muslim Brotherhood cell failed to turn up in court because they said they were not allowed to see their lawyers.

ABU DHABI // Nine Emiratis accused of being members of a Muslim Brotherhood cell failed to turn up in court on Tuesday.

They claimed they were not allowed to see their lawyers or examine case files before the oral defence presentations began.

But the Federal Supreme Court received a memo from the prison which showed the files were delivered and received by the defendants.

“We got the files, yet they were incomplete. The papers are missing medical reports, evidence lists and arrest warrants,” claimed an Egyptian defendant, S F.

“We request the court to allow us to call our lawyers. This is not a regular case and we are unable to meet with them.”

Thirty men are on trial accused of running a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE. Twenty are Egyptian and 10 are Emiratis.

Six of the Egyptians are being tried in their absence, while the Emiratis were all convicted of sedition in July.

Judge Mohammed Al Jarrah Al Tenaiji said he would look into the matters raised by the defendants.

Abdulhameed Al Kumaiti, a lawyer who represents all of the accused, said he was not ready and requested more time to prepare.

The judge gave the lawyers a chance to meet their clients for 30 minutes.

“I only got notes and memos from my clients today, I still require more time,” said Mr Al Kumaiti.

The judge allowed him a week to prepare his oral defence and asked the other lawyers to go on even though not all the defendants were present.

The court heard last month that members of a Muslim Brotherhood cell channelled Dh7.3 million back to the parent group in Egypt.

Members of the group also copied confidential files on a memory drive about the Muslim Brotherhood.

The drive was given by mistake to Egyptian M A by a First Warrant Officer in the Supreme Council for National Security and was intended for use by National Security officers only, it was claimed.

These files had information on the Brotherhood’s future plans, people connected to the group and PowerPoint presentations about it.

Jassim Al Naqbi, who represents three of the Emirati defendants who failed to appear in court, said the accusations against his client were not found in the case files.

They did not know anything about the lost memory drive, so they could not report it lost, he said.

“My clients are accused of knowing about the embezzled files and not reporting it, yet the files don’t show that,” he said.

“The witness said himself the accused were not in contact with M A, who took the confidential files. They did not know about the external drive or the contents of it, so how would they report what they don’t know?” he asked.

Hamdan Al Zeyoodi, who represents two of the Emirati defendants, said the evidence was part of the investigation of the sedition case in July.

“My clients don’t have any relationship with those who have the external drive and they do not know the contents of it,” he said.

“The drive was found with R S, and the evidence list goes back to another case.”

The judge said the previous case was to be added to this one because they were both linked.

Mr Al Zeyoodi said his client H R was accused of sending donations to the members of the Muslim Brotherhood. He argued that his client had only sent money as zakat.

Both lawyers asked for all the defendants to be acquitted.

The case was adjourned until December 17, when Mr Al Kumaiti will give his oral defence presentation.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae