Sheikh Sultan al-Qassimi enters a new year in UAE jails
Sheikh Sultan bin Kayed al-Qassimi, chairman of Islamist group Al-Islah, entered Thursday a new year of detention in the UAE jails.
Al-Qassimi was arrested on 20th April 2012 from his home by armed men, where he was held since then in solitary confinement in a palace belonging to his cousin, the ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, one of the poorer emirates of the oil-rich federation.
Al-Qassimi was one of 94 Emiratis accused of allegedly plotting Islamist coup in the Gulf country.65 of whom have been handed prison sentences – some of up to 15 years – in a mass trial that underscored the widening crackdowns on perceived Arab-spring-inspired dissent across the entire Gulf region.
Ten-year sentences were handed to 60 others, including Sheikh Sultan al-Qasimi.
Rights groups have accused the UAE of widespread violations and abuse against the 94 people on trial, who include teachers, lawyers and even the cousin of one of the UAE's rulers.