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Rights group: UAE must investigate torture claims

Updated at: 03/11/2013 10:39 AM
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(AP) DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A human rights group is calling on the United Arab Emirates to investigate allegations of torture that are being made by defendants on trial for allegedly trying to overthrow the government.

Several of the 94 defendants told a security court last week that they had been repeatedly beaten, kept in solitary confinement, denied medical treatment, blindfolded and forced to take unknown medications.

Human Rights Watch on Monday said the trial "raises serious questions about UAE’s willingness to respect the fundamental right of all accused." The group called on the court not to introduce evidence "obtained through ill-treatment or coercion."

The trial resumed Monday, but authorities barred international media, including The Associated Press, from attending.

After the session ended, the official WAM news agency issued a statement saying 85 defendants, including 12 women, appeared in court. The others were being tried in absentia. It said that the court heard from defense attorneys relating to several "urgent requests." It did not elaborate.

The trial will resume March 18, when prosecutors are due to present their first witnesses, according to WAM.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)