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UAE: trial of activists

By: 
Anton Cu Unjieng

March 27, 2013

The United Arab Emirates are a key ally of the United States in the Persian Gulf as well as a major exporter of oil and natural gas. Like many countries in the regions, the UAE has been affected by the mood of resistance generated by the Arab Spring. The ruling elite has reacted with a paranoid clamping down of opposition. Around 94 dissidents have been accused of plotting to overthrow the government.
 
Trial of activists
The accused include judges, human rights defenders, lawyers, teachers, academics and students. Many of the accused belong to a political group called al-Islah (meaning "reform"), whose major demands are regulatory and legislative powers for the Federal National Council (the closest thing to a parliament) and for all members of the council to be elected.
 
The trial of the 94 continues at the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. If convicted, activists face up to 15 years in jail. Most of the political prisoners have been held in secret detention, and many of them have been tortured. The UAE has a history of human rights abuses, and, although it is a signatory of the UN convention against torture, it has not allowed the UN to investigate allegations of torture.
 
Arms deal
Western powers struggle to direct the attention of mainstream media away from human rights abuses in UAE due to imperialist economic interests. According to The Guardian “In December the UAE signed up for 60 Eurofighter Typhoom jets after a visit by David Cameron. The UAE has signed 17 defence contracts for US-built drones worth $1.42bn. It is France's biggest arms export destination.”
 
It is vital to show solidarity and to expose the double standards of the system that values economic capitalist interests over human lives. 

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