Abu Dhabi: The prime suspect accused of heading a clandestine organisation that was plotting to overthrow the government defended himself in court on Tuesday.
He claimed the dispute was triggered not over the organisation’s legitimacy but over the signing of a petition asking for free elections of Federal National Council (FNC) members.
The Supreme Court’s National Security Court concluded the five-hour session by postponing deliberations until May 20, to hear the final argument from the defence attorney and from four more suspects.
Presiding judge Falah Al Hajiri ordered the continued imprisonment of the male suspects and bail for the female suspects, and ordered that the ten suspects who fled the country should turn themselves in.
Tuesday’s hearing was held to hear the self-defence pleas from 25 of the accused. The prime suspect, who is also accused of heading the clandestine organisation accused of having ties with foreign Muslim Brotherhood groups, spoke for almost 25 minutes.
He continually declared his loyalty and obedience to the country, the president, and vice-president and to the rulers of the Supreme Council. He also claimed the loyalty of all members of the former Al Islah Society (a social club) to the leadership of the country.
“We submit to our rulers, who are to be obeyed and respected; they are a red line never to be crossed in any circumstances.”
The main suspect, who was the president of Al Islah, denied the establishment, running, and administering of a secret organisation that was plotting to overthrow the government. He claimed that what is currently on trial was not the Islah members, but rather the “entire judicial, media, and security system of the country”.
He claimed that the trigger for the conflict was the signing of a petition which asked for free elections for FNC members, giving them more authority.
“The petition was the reason for the arrests of the Islah members,” he said.
The suspect emphasised that “the accusation of plotting to overthrow the government is an accusation that is based on false assumption, and it humiliates the entire system of the UAE government”.
“The government of this country is not weak, and never has been, and never will it ever be so weak that a small group of people can take over,” he said.
He also reiterated his loyalty, love and respect for the leadership of the country and stated this is well-rooted within their tribal customs and traditions.
All of the suspects who spoke in their own defence denied the accusations against them and announced their loyalty to the nation, the president, and all the rulers. The suspects said that they merely gave lectures on Islam, and spread awareness on matters related to the Quran and Sharia.
The suspects accused the State Security Prosecution of forgery in the investigation documents, adding quotes that the suspects did not say, and preventing them from meeting their lawyers.
The suspects, whose Emirati citizenship has been revoked, requested their passports back along with their citizenship, driving licences and health insurance cards.
They requested their rights to ask for compensation for physical and psychological damage caused by jail time.
Twenty male suspects and five female suspects spoke in their defence in Tuesday’s session. The female suspects’ appeals were concise, as the judge had requested and they focused on their roles in giving Islamic lectures and spreading awareness among the youth, as well as giving Quran and Sharia lessons. They all denied the accusations of establishing and running a clandestine organisation that aimed to overthrow the government and take over power.