x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Verdict prove strengths of UAE justice system

The so-called sedition trial was conducted fairly and transparently, an Arabic-language columnist says. Other writers comment on the situation in Egypt.

Verdicts in the 'sedition trial' prove that the UAE judicial system is merciful and rooted in law

Al last, the curtain has come down on the biggest and most delicate trial to be brought before the Emirati judiciary, wrote Dr Salem Hamid, a contributing columnist, in the Abu Dhabi-based daily Al Ittihad.

In the final verdict of the case that came to be known as "the sedition trial", 69 Emiratis were found guilty on Tuesday, and jailed for varying terms of up to 15 years for conspiring against the state.

In addition to belonging to a banned group said to be linked to the Muslim Brotherhood - an organisation banned under UAE law for its contradictions of the Islamic and social values of the country - the condemned were found to have been conspiring to establish a separate military wing with the aim of ultimately causing the downfall of the Government.

"The just verdicts were received with a wave of relief throughout the Emirati public. They were yet another brilliant lesson that the Emirati judiciary has been contributing to the world's justice system through its nonpareil adherence to the principle of complete transparency," the writer said.

"The verdicts, which included both acquittals and convictions with imprisonment, prove the Emirati judiciary's professionalism, steadfastness and respect for the law, despite the enormous media pressure that questioned judicial integrity," he added.

In addition to the judiciary, the National Security Council, the police and prosecution contributed efficiently to bringing the issue to a close.

"Their combined ethical and rigorous efforts in dealing with the case finally exasperated the large Brotherhood group," the writer noted.

Another Emirati columnist using the pen name Ibn Al Deera wrote in the Sharjah-based daily Al Khaleej that: "The UAE is to be congratulated for its court system, its justice and its judiciary. Congratulations are due because, in the confrontation with the [secret] organisation, the UAE came out stronger, more determined, more steadfast and more magnanimous."

In other countries with respected democracies, and in similar cases of secret organisations that jeopardise the security of the state and conspire to spread sedition and chaos, the final rulings are usually more stringent, he observed.

"Here in the Emirates, however, justice is merciful and verdicts are rooted in the law and not in politics," he added.

"Yes, in spite of the secret organisation's foreign reach and its foreign agenda that clashes with the nature, the history and the culture of the UAE and its people … and despite the heinous, discriminatory and sectarian nature of the crime, the sentences were clement, reflecting the values of the state," he said.

Morsi's shortcomings overshadow Mubarak

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his party and the Muslim Brotherhood quickly accomplished a feat that former president Hosni Mubarak, his party and his goons took three decades to achieve, wrote Abdullah Iskandar, managing editor of the pan-Arab paper Al Hayat.

"In the span of one short year in power, Mr Morsi was able to gather a considerably larger number of opposing protesters in the streets and squares than Mr Mubarak ever could throughout his long reign of dictatorship and corruption," the writer said.

"But to Mr Mubarak's credit, he realised that futility of perpetuating the predicament and he stepped down, allowing the transitional period to begin."

As the first democratically elected civilian president of Egypt, Mr Morsi and the Brotherhood behaved as if they owned Egypt and its people. Not a single presidential decision at any level reflected any interest in, or respect for, the opinions and ambitions of any other political group.

Since the first constitutional declaration, which marked the real extent of the new dictatorship creeping into Egypt, the Egyptian people's hopes were in great jeopardy.

It was against tyranny that Egyptians first rebelled during Mr Mubarak's time. It was to prevent it from returning that they voted against Ahmed Shafiq and now, it is to prevent it from taking root that they have declared mutiny against Mr Morsi, the writer said.

Vengeful acts will lead only to more turmoil

Two essential things are urgently needed in Egypt during these most delicate circumstances, said the Egyptian daily Al Ahram in its editorial on Wednesday.

First, Egyptians must come together and unite. "We are all in the same boat. Mistaken are those who believe that they may survive while others drown. The country is vast enough to accommodate everyone as long as tolerance and goodwill are observed," the daily suggested.

Second, Egyptians on all sides must thwart any talk of vengeance. Vengeance will only lead to murky swamps of hatred that will ultimately lead to more bloodshed, the paper warned.

"It is also important that we don't fall for calls for the defeat of the Islamic movement," Al Ahram said. "The movement is one of the main components of Egypt's political and social life following the revolution of January 25. It cannot possibly be ignored or undermined."

The Islamic movement should not be marginalised or alienated from the political arena, the paper went on to suggest, especially since it enjoys the support of large segments of the population.

Its mistakes and the mistakes of the Muslim Brotherhood in the past months, which have led us to the current conundrum, do not justify any efforts to isolate it.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem

rmakarem@thenational.ae