UAE cracks down on group tied to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood



Dubai: UAE has arrested more than 10 people, including three Egyptian doctors, for being part of a "secret" group linked to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, that was allegedly discussing ways to "overthrow regimes in the Arab states".

The activities of those arrested were being monitored by the security agencies for several years, according to a report in Al Khaleej newspaper.

The Sharjah-based paper quoted an "authorised source" as saying that security agencies believed the men had formed their own network in the UAE and were carrying out organised activities "on state land", holding secret meetings in various "administrative offices" and recruiting UAE-based Egyptians to their organisation.

While Egypt remains the main centre of the Brotherhood, members of the movement are believed to constitute the bulk of the political opposition in several authoritarian Arab states.

According to the report, the group in the UAE also organised lectures about elections and ways to change Arab regimes, and had close links with the banned Al Islah Society, whose members are currently in detention on charges of 'jeopardising national security'.

"There was a regular coordination between the two groups and they held secret meetings. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood group in the UAE also conducted training sessions for the (UAE members currently in detention) on holding elections and means to overthrow regimes in the Arab states," the sources were quoted as saying.

In a region dominated by entrenched authoritarian regimes, successful mass movements in Tunisia and Egypt last year, sparked a series of similar protests in countries like Bahrain and Syria though UAE remained visibly unaffected.

In Egypt, the Brotherhood that was earlier an outlawed group, eventually emerged victorious in the first democratic elections held last year.

Last week, authorities here had busted an alleged terror cell plotting attacks in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other states.

According to a report carried by the Gulf News which quoted from Al Khaleej, the arrested members of the group in the latest operation were "involved in collecting confidential military information about the UAE military."

The group is also believed to have set up companies to support it financially. The investigators, said the report, were expecting the probe to reveal "serious information on conspiracies that were hatched against UAE state security" as well as the names of hundreds of people associated with the Brotherhood network.

The more than 10 people that have been arrested were described as "the leadership" of the UAE branch of the Egyptian organisation.

Egypt's ambassador to the UAE, Tamer Mansour, also said that his embassy had received a complaint from the families of the three doctors, detained among the group.

"They (UAE) said they would provide us with details later... The indictment did not come out yet - so we do not know what their charge is," he said.

PTI