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UAE security trial: Convicts are not ‘prisoners of conscience’ - Ministry

Ministry of Justice will respect verdict

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Justice has reaffirmed that it will respect the verdict issued by the court on the secret organisation case.

An official in the ministry said that since the beginning of the court procedures, the ministry has stated that it will respect the judgment issued by the court, and that it will not interfere in any way in the judicial procedures because the UAE’s judicial system is based on the constitution, current laws and humanitarian values of justice.

The official stressed that the convicts in the secret organisation case are not prisoners of conscience, human right activists, or peaceful politicians, but are persons who have been convicted in a criminal case that threatened national security.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ministry reaffirmed that freedom of expression and setting up of associations are part of the principles stated in the UAE constitution.

The ministry added that UAE media is open and can freely express the opinions of all residents in the country, and that the UAE does not mind political criticism and does not forbid human rights activists from carrying out their operations.

The ministry pointed out that the UAE is however stringent against any action that threatens national security.

“We are very keen to maintain this openness and presence of varied opinions, but we will not be negligent towards persons who threaten the UAE’s national security. It is our duty and responsibility that oblige us to face up to anyone who aims to destabilise the UAE’s security, and threatens the security of nationals and residents. This is a legitimate right that is further emphasised in national laws and international agreements,” added the official.

“The UAE fully respects human rights and is committed to best practices in this field, which are part of its traditional values and principles. It is these values and principles that made the UAE an oasis of security that attracts residents from more than 200 nations,” said the official.

Speaking about judicial procedures on the secret organisation case, the official indicated that the court’s operations were carried out in full transparency, pointing out that the hearings were conducted publicly in a specialised, impartial and independent court that represents the highest level of the UAE’s judicial system.

The official added that representatives from civil society bodies and the local media who attended the hearings have witnessed the court’s impartiality and equality in its treatment of the convicts.


Reaction from rights group

The Emirates Human Rights Association reiterated its confidence in the fairness and justice of UAE judiciary after the the verdict issued by the Federal Supreme Court on the secret organisation case.

“We believe that trials of the members of the secret organisation members took place in an atmosphere of transparency, clarity and openness,” the association said in a statement.

The defendants during the trial days were allowed to defend themselves individually and by lawyers assigned by the accused or their families, it added.

The association said the court and its judges showed great open-mindedness in listening to the defence and the testimonies of suspects, in an impressive manner, placing the Federal Supreme Court among highly reputed courts in the world, the statement said.

“Since there is no authority over judges, the Emirates Human Rights Association is confident that the conscience and impartiality of judges as well as  their commitment to Justice were  mainly considered by the judges before issuing these rulings.