UAE gives harsh sentences against six Lebanese men after unfair trial
The UAE Federal Court on Wednesday jailed six Lebanese men, four of them for life, for being linked to Lebanon's Hezbollah.
Two of the six men were sentenced to 10 years in jail, while five others were acquitted.
Arrested between December 2017 and February 2018, the eight men, who are all Shia Muslims, had been held without charge in an unknown location up until the beginning of their trial, in February 2019.
Rights groups have said the men did not receive a fair hearing, were refused access to independent legal council and forced to sign confessions under torture.
Responding to yesterday’s verdict, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:
“The absence of basic requirements of a fair trial – such as having access to a lawyer – strips today’s verdict of any reliability or credibility.
It is welcome news that five men were acquitted; however, the authorities must now effectively investigate allegations of torture and quash the unreliable convictions of the remaining three. If there is not sufficient evidence against them and they cannot be prosecuted fairly, they too should be acquitted and released.
The flagrant disregard for human rights in this case is incongruous with the global image of a state-of-the-art, open and inclusive state that the authorities in the UAE seek to project.”