Country of UAE conducting trial of 84 individuals for terrorism, including human rights activists

The UAE has started a trial of 84 people accused of establishing a “clandestine organization for the purpose of committing acts of violence and terrorism,” with human rights organizations warning that many political prisoners are among the accused. According to WAM, Dr. Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, the UAE’s attorney general, referred 84 defendants to the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal for trial. The state news agency reported that most of the defendants are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The 84 were all previously arrested and imprisoned in a case commonly known as the UAE 94. The defendants include human rights activists and critics of the Emirati government such as Ahmed Mansoor, Nasser bin Ghaith. The case was first reported by the Emirates Detainees Advocacy Centre (EDAC) in mid-December during the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), although it was only confirmed officially by the UAE on Saturday. Shortly after the case came to light in December, Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, condemned the opening of the trial. “This is a shameful act while the UAE is hosting the UN climate change conference,” said Lawlor. During COP28, a small group of demonstrators staged a very rare protest in Dubai to demand the release of pro-democracy activists imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. About 25 activists took part in the protest, holding up pictures of Emirati prisoners Ahmed Mansoor and Mohamed al-Siddiq and Egyptian-British political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah.