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UAE jails Emiratis up to 10 years for Al-Islah links

Al-Islah have been accused of links to the banned Muslim Brotherhood
A plane heads into Abu Dhabi (AFP)

A UAE court Monday jailed two Emiratis up to 10 years for their links to a "terrorist" organisation seen as a branch of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, media said. The first defendant was handed a 10-year jail term after he was convicted of playing a "leading role" in a "banned secret group," the official WAM news agency reported.

The local Gulf News daily said in its online edition that he was found guilty of joining the outlawed Al-Islah group, which authorities accuse of activities aimed at overthrowing the government and seizing power. He will remain under surveillance for three years after serving his prison term, both sources said.

The same Abu Dhabi-based Federal Supreme Court sentenced another Emirati to seven years in prison after it convicted him of joining the same organisation, running one of its offices in the Gulf country, and promoting its ideology, the sources said.

The United Arab Emirates in 2013 sentenced 69 activists to up to 15 years each in jail following a mass trial that saw them convicted for their links to Al-Islah. The trial was the largest in the history of the UAE, where authorities have cracked down on dissent and calls for democratic reform in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings that swept other countries.

Also on Monday, the same court sentenced a citizen from Comoros Islands to three years in jail after he was found guilty of promoting the Islamic State group, the Gulf News said. The man drew slogans and symbols on public law promoting the militant group as well as "slanderous and degrading phrases about state officials," it added.

The United Arab Emirates is a member of the US-led coalition that has been bombing IS militants in Iraq and Syria since September 2014. Authorities in the Gulf state have enacted anti-terror legislation, including the death penalty and harsher jail terms for crimes linked to religious hatred and militant groups.