State security trial put off to March 11

Monday, Mar 04, 2013

Abu Dhabi

The trial of a group of Emiratis charged with threatening national security and forming a clandestine organisation aimed at overthrowing the government began at the State Security Court yesterday.

The court, which is part of the Federal Supreme Court, was presided by Judge Falah Al Hajiri, who postponed the hearing to March 11 to notify the suspects at large and to provide more time for defense lawyers to study the prosecution documents.

Yesterday’s hearing was mostly a procedural session.

The judge also allowed the female suspects to be released on bail, and ordered that the three judges among the defendants be held in areas belonging to the judicial authority.

The list of suspects on trial includes 13 women and 10 suspects who have fled the country.

Prosecution’s demand

In a session that started at 10.20am and lasted until 4pm, the Public Prosecution accused the suspects of establishing and managing an organisation called “Al Islah Group”, which aims to overthrow the government and destabilise security. The Prosecution also sought maximum punishment according to articles 117, 180 (first sector), and 182. It also demanded the organisation be dissolved along with its websites, satellite channels, affiliated companies and the money confiscated.

The suspects and their lawyers have pleaded not guilty. The suspects requested that means of communications and comfort are made available to them. They also requested to be moved to public prisons of the Ministry of Interior.

‘Clear transparency’

Upon their request, the judge allowed the main suspects to defend themselves and present their arguments. These included Shaikh Sultan Bin Kayed Al Qasimi, Dr Mohammad Al Rokn, Judge Khamis Al Som, and Lawyer Salem Al Shehhi, among others.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on his Twitter account that the session was “organised and procedural” in its nature.

“The session was attended by Emirati civil society organisations such as Human Rights Organisation, Writers Union, Lawyers Association, Journalists Association and the media - in a clear indication of transparency,” he added.

See also A4

By Abdulla Rasheed Abu Dhabi Editor

Gulf News 2013. All rights reserved.

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