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Five men sentenced to up to three years in jail for insulting leaders of the United Arab Emirates in online messages.
Move aimed at pressuring authorities to release activists unconditionally and halt judicial proceedings against them.
Joint appeal calls for Emirati authorities to halt activists' trial and release them, rights group says.
The small Gulf country engineered a spectacular model of urban and mercantile development unique in the Arab region.
Five men charged with insulting officials refuse to attend hearing in trial rights group call "fundamentally unfair".
Although only the hand-picked are allowed to take part, the electorate has increased from 6,600 to 129,000.
Mostly Shia protesters demand changes to naturalisation policy, which they say favours foreigners at their expense.
Several thousand chosen voters are casting ballots in the Gulf state's first polls.
The elections are a non-event for most UAE nationals.

The president of the United Arab Emirates has set out the mechanism for limited elections to the country's consultative council, including holding out the hope of eventual "direct elections".

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Three years since the start of the uprising, nine million people have been displaced by fighting.
An in-depth look at Egypt's ongoing political crisis.