UAE court convicts most of 94 on trial in coup plot, 26 acquitted

DUBAI (REUTERS) - A United Arab Emirates court on Tuesday convicted most of 94 Emiratis charged with plotting a coup, Abu Dhabi television said, at the end of trial analysts said reflected government mistrust of Islamist groups following the Arab Spring.

The television said that the Federal Supreme Court sentenced 56 suspects to prison sentences ranging between three and 10 years.

Eight suspects were sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail and another 26 were acquitted.

Witnesses said that police blocked roads outside the court in Abu Dhabi and kept reporters away from the building.

Dozens of people have been detained in a crackdown on Islamists in the past year amid heightened worries among officials about a spillover of unrest in other Arab countries.

The trial, which human rights groups say has included"flagrant flaws" in procedure, is widely seen as an attempt by the Gulf Arab state to address what it says is a threat from the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

The defendants had denied the charges, and some said they had been abused in detention, an accusation the state denies.