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Trial for suspected Muslim Brotherhood members begins in UAE

Nov. 5, 2013 at 5:03 PM

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A trial began Tuesday for 24 men in the United Arab Emirates for allegedly forming an illegal sect of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The suspects appeared in the UAE's Supreme Union Court in Abu Dhabi where the judge addressed them, promising a fair trial before adjourning proceedings until Nov. 12 when witness testimony will begin, al Arabiya reported Tuesday.

The accused have said they've been tortured while in prison, the BBC said. The United Kingdom-based Emirates Center for Human Rights has complained UAE officials failed to investigate "credible" claims of torture and human rights violations.

The judge ordered medical examinations for some of the suspects to determine whether the brutality claims have merit.

The group is said to be linked to al Islah, an Islamist sect prosecutors assert is a branch of the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood. The members deny any affiliation to the brotherhood and said they advocate for peaceful political change.

There are 30 suspects in all charged in the case, 20 Egyptian nationals and 10 men from the UAE. Six of the Egyptian men are suspected to have fled the country and are being tried in absentia.

The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in the UAE and the men are suspected of starting a group and raising funds to support it.

They were accused of "forming and managing a branch for ... the international organization of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, without a permit."

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