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An Emirati newspaper reported Thursday that United Arab Emirates authorities arrested 60 local members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The authorities accused them of belonging to a clandestine group that includes a military wing that seeks to overthrow the regime in the UAE, the newspaper added. The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in the UAE.
Al-Emarat Al-Youm newspaper, affiliated with Dubai Media Incorporated, which is headed by members of the Emirati royal family, said that the defendants confessed in detail to the accusations. It added they were arrested a few weeks ago.
“The defendants confessed that they found a suitable opportunity in the Arab Spring to carry out their activities,” Al-Emarat Al-Youm wrote. “[They also confessed they had] a military wing founded in 1988 to train members.
“The defendants said the leaders of the military wing had to contact retired officers to prompt them to join the organization,” the newspaper reported.
The paper quoted anonymous sources as saying that the defendants would be referred to trial when the investigation was completed.
The general prosecutor accused the detainees of creating and managing a secret organization that affects the security and the principles of the state, having links to foreign parties and receiving funds and instructions from them, offending the political leadership of the state, and building an investment portfolio to support an illegal organization.
The newspaper alleged that the detainees confessed to creating organizations similar to the Muslim Brotherhood in all Arab countries.
Brotherhood leaders in Egypt, where the group was founded in 1928, denounced the arrest. The detentions come a few months after Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan launched a sharp attack on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Saad Omara, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura Council in Egypt, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the arrest of Brotherhood members in the UAE was based on Khalfan’s personal stance toward the group. He said the UAE treatment of Muslim Brotherhood members was “unjustified and hostile.”
“The Brotherhood members do not use force,” said Egypt’s Brotherhood Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein, refusing to comment on Al-Emarat Al-Youm’s claims about the detainees' alleged confessions.
According to Muslim Brotherhood reports, the group became active in the UAE in the 1960’s, specifically in 1968, after the return of a number of Emirati students who were studying in Egypt.
The students were influenced by the Brotherhood’s ideas and created a group when they returned home that focused on youth issues. This group evolved into the UAE Muslim Brotherhood.