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Trial of secret group to start on March 4

Majority of defendants in custody and those at large will be tried in absentia

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The trial of more than 90 Emiratis charged with forming a clandestine organisation and plotting to overthrow the government will start on March 4 in the presence of the media, Gulf News has learnt.

The 94 defendants, some of whom are affiliated with the Al Islah Society, will be tried by the State Security Court, part of the Federal Supreme Court. The trial will be presided over by Chief Justice Falah Al Hajiri. Al Islah Society is traditionally known to have links with the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood.

The majority of the defendants are in custody but a number of them are at large, sources said. Those at large will be tried in absentia and there will be arrest warrants issued by the Interpol against them.

On March 4, the Public Prosecution will present its case and display evidence, the sources added. The sources disclosed that Al Hajiri will also hear a request by the prosecution for a closed-door trial.

The charges against the 94 defendants include violating Articles 180 and 182 of the UAE Penal Code, which ban the formation of any organisation aimed at overthrowing, seizing or opposing the basic principles of the state.

“The court will make sure justice is served. The defendants’ lawyer will be allowed to see all the details regarding the case,” the sources said.