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UAE convicts 30 over Muslim Brotherhood ties

Gulf state convicts group of Egyptians and Emiratis for setting up illegal branch of Islamist group in the country.

Last updated: 21 Jan 2014 13:34
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Tuesday's verdict is part of a broader crackdown on Islamist opposition groups in Arab Gulf countries [AP]

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have convicted a group of 30 Emiratis and Egyptians on charges of setting up a Muslim Brotherhood branch in the country.

The suspects have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from three months to five years.

Defence lawyers and rights groups say the 20 Egyptians and 10 Emiratis have denied the charges against them.

The Emirati suspects were previously convicted of sedition in a separate trial in the summer. The Egyptians will be deported after serving their sentences.

The 30 were also accused of trying to obtain security data and collecting donations without permission.

Tuesday's verdict is part of a broader crackdown on Islamist opposition groups in Arab Gulf countries.

The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in much of the region, and the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt after the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in July.

The convictions come after rights group Amnesty International warned on Monday that the defendants faced the "risk of being wrongfully convicted following a grossly unfair trial marred by a catalogue of human rights violations".

"The list of failings in the trial so far has been astonishing," said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

"Arrests without judicial warrants, allegedly falsified arrest dates in court documents; months of secret detention and solitary confinement with no access to a lawyer; show that the fundamental rights of the defendants have been completely disregarded," he added in a statement.

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