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UAE court sentences 43 people to life in prison

A United Arab Emirates (UAE) court on Wednesday (10) sentenced 43 people to life in prison for operating what it said was a Muslim Brotherhood group that planned to carry out attacks in the country, state news agency WAM reported.

According to state media, eleven others received lesser sentences and six companies were convicted of money laundering to support a terrorist organization.

A human rights coalition, which includes Human Rights Watch, said the convictions followed a mass trial that was “fundamentally unfair” and called for its immediate annulment.

The UAE media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The verdict can be appealed to the UAE’s Federal Supreme Court, the state news agency said.

WAM also reported that those convicted were members of the Justice and Dignity Committee, a local group of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the oldest and most influential Islamist movements in the Arab world, which the UAE listed as a terrorist organization in 2014.

They “worked to create and replicate violent events in the country, similar to what occurred in other Arab states,” including protests and clashes with security forces, the media reported, citing the court, without specifying their plans.

“These lengthy and exaggerated sentences make a mockery of justice and are yet another nail in the coffin for the UAE’s nascent civil society,” Joey Shea, UAE researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“The UAE dragged many of its most dedicated human rights defenders and civil society members through a blatantly unfair trial, riddled with due process violations and allegations of torture,” Shea added.

The Emirates Detainees Advocacy Centre said the individuals had already been convicted in 2013 for their involvement with the group, raising concerns that the UAE was trying people twice for the same offence, a principle known as double jeopardy.

Source: CNN Brasil

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