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UAE to examine recordings, finances of detained Islamists

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The UAE justice ministry ordered on Tuesday the examination of voice recordings and financial accounts of dozens of Islamists on trial for plotting to seize power in the federation, state news agency WAM reported.

"The court has decided to assign a criminal laboratory to examine voice recordings and compare them to those of the defendants," said a ministry statement.

It has also assigned "four experts from the justice ministry to examine the defendants' financial accounts."

All the accused were present at the hearing, except for one absent for health reasons, according to WAM, which said the next session will take place on April 16.

The top security court reconvened on Tuesday and heard more testimony in the case of 94 defendants, including 13 women, accused of plotting against the state in the largest trial -- closed to the foreign media -- in the history of the United Arab Emirates.

On Monday, Reporters Without Borders condemned the news blackout.

Ten defendants are being tried in absentia, while the women charged have been on bail since the trial began on March 4.

Prosecutors say the accused are linked to the Al-Islah group, which has ties with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Last month, Attorney General Salem Kobaish said the defendants would be tried for "having created and led a movement aimed at opposing the basic foundations on which the state's political system is built and at seizing power".

The group had formed a "secret organisation" which was in contact with individuals and organisations abroad, including the Brotherhood, and had created or invested in real estate firms to finance their organisation, he said.

The UAE has not seen any of the widespread pro-reform protests that have swept other Arab countries, including fellow Gulf states Bahrain and Oman, but authorities have stepped up a crackdown on dissent and calls for democratic reform.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130326/uae-examine-recordings-finances-detained-islamists