A court in the United Arab Emirates has sentenced 64 people to prison on charges of planning a coup in the country, Abu Dhabi television has said.
On Tuesday, the Federal Supreme Court handed 56 people prison sentences of ranging between seven and 10 years, and eight others were sentenced to 15 years in prison in absentia. They were all convicted of plotting to overthrow the government of the tiny Persian Gulf Arab state. The court also acquitted 26 defendants. The defendants, including lawyers, university students and professors, were arrested between March and December 2012. They had denied the charges and said that they have been abused in prison, a claim the government denied. Human rights groups have criticized the trial, saying it included “flagrant flaws.” They also alleged that some of the defendants had been subjected to mistreatment in prison including torture. The UAE has been cracking down on activists inspired by the Arab revolutions that have been sweeping the region since 2011. Dozens of people have been arrested over the past year with the government fearing a spillover of regional protests.