UAE hands down heavy jail terms to 3 Hezbollah-linked Lebanese citizens

A court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has handed down lengthy prison sentences to three Lebanese citizens on trumped up charges of setting up a “terrorist cell” and planning attacks upon orders from Hezbollah resistance movement.

On Wednesday, the Federal Supreme Court put eight Lebanese nationals, all Shia Muslims, on trial on terrorism-related charges.

Amnesty International said five of the defendants were acquitted of the charges. The court, which is the highest judicial authority in the Persian Gulf Arab country, sentenced one man to life imprisonment and two others to ten years each.

“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,” Amnesty’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf, said in a statement.

She added, “The eight men were held in solitary confinement for over a year – this in itself can amount to torture. They were also denied access to their lawyers from the beginning of the trial; a number of the men claimed they had been tortured to sign so-called confessions but there have been no investigations into these claims.”

“These details leave us with no confidence in the process that led to the conviction of the three men,” Maalouf noted.

All of the Lebanese men, who stood on trial on Wednesday, had lived and worked in the UAE for more than 15 years, seven of them for Dubai-owned Emirates Airlines, according to Human Rights Watch.

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