Proof presented in security case

Proof presented in security case

Six prosecution witnesses who had examined evidence in the sedition case involving 94 Emiratis testified at the State Security Circuit of the Supreme Federal Court on Tuesday.


Mustafa Al Zarooni

Published: Wed 20 Mar 2013, 8:32 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 3:53 AM

The witnesses produced files extracted from personal computers, cell phones and other electronic devices belonging to the accused. The files contained photos, video clips and documents which the witnesses claimed incriminated the accused.

A USB was also produced which purportedly contained information about plans by the clandestine organisation to destabilise the state.

Presiding judge Falah Al Hajeri adjourned the case to March 26 after serving summons to other technical experts. Another prosecution witness was asked to appear for the next hearing after the defence raised objection, saying he had left the country with his mother for her medical treatment.

The hearing started at 10.40am and concluded at 4pm and most of the session was taken up by exchanges between defence lawyer Abdul Hamid Al Kemeiti and presiding judge Falah Al Hajeri. The presiding judge asked Al Kemeiti to pose direct questions to the prosecution witnesses and not to resort to delays.

He said questions by the defence lawyer were general in nature and not specific to the case and that the six witnesses only had expertise in gathering e-evidence and other aspects of the case did not fall within their purview.

Al Kemeiti countered that the evidence was cooked up and said some important files had been deleted before they were handed to the court.

One of the accused who was allowed to speak said that the photos found on his mobile phone were taken during the Haj pilgrimage. Another accused said that he was a social worker and the word ‘Islah’ appeared often in his correspondence which was misunderstood as ‘a call for Islah’.

Al Kemeiti said an SMS which read — ‘Congratulations on Mohammed Mursi’s victory’ — could not be interpreted as evidence.

Many relatives of the accused said they wanted to speak to their kin and hand them money. Lawyer Jasim Al Naqbi sought permission from the judge who approved a meeting during a recess.

During the first break, relatives of the detainees started a quarrel with security men after one of the accused, a jurist, attempted to pass a paper to his attorney Al Naqbi but was stopped by an official. “You do not allow us to meet our lawyers or even hand them anything,” he shouted. He then threw the paper to the lawyer who picked it up.

A furious relative of the accused did not give up and began to raise slogans but was ordered by a security guard to exit the courtroom to which he refused. He was then forced out by three guards and order was restored when an official spoke to other family members to rein him in.

At the start of the hearing, the accused sang the national anthem of the UAE aloud and the performance was met with applause. Drama ensued when a woman relative of one of the accused shouted: ‘They know the national anthem.’

Security officials calmed them down and advised relatives of the accused who wanted to attend future hearing to register latest by Thursday. However, those who had registered earlier need not submit personal details but must inform the court they would attend the session.

A Ministry of Justice statement said 73 male and 12 female defendants appeared in court. “A female defendant did not show up because of the death of her mother,” the statement said.

The hearing was attended by 15 media representatives, four representatives from civil society organisations, six defence lawyers, five from the State Security Prosecution, six prosecution witnesses as well as 124 relatives of the defendants.

The presiding judge had barred publication of the names of the accused on Monday.

The defendants, who are accused of belonging to an illegal, secret organisation that aims to counter the foundations of this state in order to seize power and of contacting foreign entities and groups to implement this plan, have denied the charges.

One of the three witnesses presented by the prosecution said the group had two faces. “The public face was that of Al Islah, a charity organisation but in reality it was an appendage of the Muslim Brotherhood, with a structure to recruit and mobilise people to its cause.” He said the accused had “set up a state within a state and this secret body had a Shura (consultative) council comprising 30 members”.

“They have offices in each emirate across the country and have a board of directors too,” the witness claimed. He said committee members lured people, especially from among Indians and Bangladeshis, and attempted to indoctrinate them. The secret cell also had financial, educational, PR and media, investment and dialogue committees. Recruitment committees targeted men and women, he added.

The accused, all Emiratis, had invested money collected from Brotherhood membership fees and charity funds to set up commercial enterprises and real estate investments held in their names to conceal their activities from the state. He claimed the accused donated five-seven per cent from their monthly salaries to the organisation, the court heard.

Members of the group, some of who were doctors and lawyers, used their network of contacts to spread falsehood against the country in the international community, according to a witness.

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