UAE newspaper: Egyptians detained in Emirates belong to Brotherhood 'cell'

AFP , Tuesday 1 Jan 2013

Egyptians protest on Tuesday at the embassy of UAE for the release of detainees accused of belonging to 'deviant' group while their families deny they are members of the Muslim Brotherhood

Tens of Egyptians protested on Tuesday at the embassy of UAE in Giza demanding the release of Egyptians recently arrested in the Gulf state on allegations of forming a cell linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The protesters, who included the families of the detainees, held signs calling for their immediate release saying "Mr. Ambassador, Where is my father!?," "Egypt in the times of Morsi is different than in times of Mubarak," and "The detention of Egyptian engineers in UAE is a violation for the basic human rights."

The protest was organised by the Freedom committee in the Doctors syndicate in Cairo as three of those in custody are physicians.

The engineers syndicate also asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamel Amr to demand the immediate release of 3 engineers working in the UAE who were arrested by the Emirati security forces earlier in December 2012.

"United Arab Emirates security services have arrested a cell of more than 10 people belonging to the leadership of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood," Al-Khaleej reported, quoting an "informed" source.

Members of the group held "secret meetings" across the country and "recruited Egyptian expats in the UAE to join their ranks," it said.

They also set up companies and collected "large amounts of money which they sent illegally to the mother organisation in Egypt," the daily said, claiming also they gathered secret defence information on the UAE.

The source spoke of "continuous coordination" and "secret meetings" between the UAE-based group and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

"Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood had offered (the cell's members) courses... on elections and the means of changing leadership in Arab countries."

No official confirmation to the report was immediately available and no dates given for the arrests.

During the past year, the United Arab Emirates announced it has broken up several cells it said were plotting against its security.

On 26 December 2012, the UAE authorities dismantled a "cell" made up of Saudi and Emirati members alleged to have been plotting "terror" attacks in the two countries and other states.

The suspects were described as members of the "deviant group," a term usually used in Saudi Arabia to refer to Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, the UAE has never seen attacks by Al-Qaeda, but authorities have in past months arrested dozens of Islamists it accused of links to the Brotherhood.

In July, Abu Dhabi claimed it broke up a group that was plotting against state security, without identifying their affiliation or the number of arrests.

The prosecutor general, Salem Said Kabish, had said an unspecified number of people were being questioned for having formed "a group aimed at damaging the security of the state."

State news agency WAM had said they were also suspected of "rejecting the constitution and the founding principles of power in the Emirates," and of having links with foreign organisations.

Dubai police Chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan has repeatedly lashed out against leaders who came to power after the ouster of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, accusing Egypt's Brotherhood of plotting to topple Gulf monarchies.

Back in Egypt, Mahmoud Ghozlan, the spokesperson of the Muslim brotherhood questioned  in exclusive statements to Arabic Ahram news website the authenticity of the reports published in "Al Khaleej Newspaper" and insisted that the Brotherhood does not interfere in other countries' affairs.

"The Brotherhood members work like any other Egyptian in the UAE and they do not interfere in politics," Ghozlan said.

Some of the detainees' families, who spoke to Ahram Arabic news website, denied their loved ones had any relation with the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Ahmed Sonbel, the son of the Egyptian doctor Ali Sonbol who was among those arrested in UAE, denied that his father was a member in the Muslim Brotherhood adding he was simple a devoted Muslim.

Maqdad Saleh Farg, the son of Egyptian engineer Saleh Farg, also denied the allegations that his father was a member of the Muslim brotherhood or practiced any political activity insisting that he was also simply a devoted Muslim.

Just like Ali Snobol and Salah Farg, the Wife of detained Egyptian journalist Ahmed Gaafar, Manal El Gendy stated that her husband did not have any political or partisan activity nor had any political affiliation. El Gendy said also that her husband was known for his religious commitment.

Ahmed Abdullah, the son of an Egyptian dentist detained in the UAE, also insisted that his religiously devoted father, who worked in UAE for 27 years, "did not have any political or partisan affiliation of any kind."

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