Eight Lebanese citizens, all Shiite Muslims, have been charged with “terrorism” in the UAE and denied legal representation in a trial “marred with violations”, Human Rights Watch said Monday.
While the charges have not been made public, families of the eight men say they were charged with “terrorism”, according to New York-based HRW.
UAE media reported that they are linked to Hezbollah Lebanese resistance.
Family members told HRW the defendants had been held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods and denied legal representation and visits by their relatives.
“Time and again, the UAE has used the specter of terrorism to justify its utter lack of respect for the rule of law,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.
“By not respecting the rights of the defendants to a fair trial, the Emirati authorities are indicating that they have already decided the outcome.”
All of the men under trial have lived and worked in UAE for more than 15 years, seven of them for Dubai-owned Emirates Airlines, HRW said.
The eight men had been detained between December 2017 and February last year and held for one year before their trial opened on February 13, it said.
Family members told HRW that none of the men had any known political affiliations and their confessions were made under duress.