ABU DHABI // State security have arrested a cell of at least 10 people accused of having links to the Muslim Brotherood in Egypt.
Investigators had been monitoring the men’s movements for several years and believed they had formed their own network in the UAE, a security source told Al Khaleej newspaper in Sharjah.
He said they were organising well-planned activities “on state land”.
They held secret meetings in various “administrative offices” around the country and recruited Egyptians in the UAE to their organisation.
The group is also said to have set up companies in the UAE to support it financially, collected large sums of money to send illegally to its parent organisation in Egypt and gathered confidential information about the UAE’s defence capabilities.
State security found a close relationship between the group and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. There was continuous coordination between the two, secret meetings and exchange of classified information.
The group also organised lectures about ways to change the systems of government in Arab states.
The source said the latest investigation would 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.
Egyptian officials have sought to emphasise that Egypt has no intention of undermining the security of Arabian Gulf countries or supporting political groups here.
Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian president, said yesterday that “the security of Gulf countries is part of Egypt’s security”.
Tamer Mansour, Egypt’s ambassador to the UAE, urged Egyptians not to do anything that might harm UAE-Egypt relations. “We want people to be calm so that in the end it does not backfire on relations between the two countries.”
Mr Mansour said the families of Ali Sonbol, Mohamed Shohda and Abdallah Zaa’zaa’, three doctors who are believed to have been arrested in connection with the group, had asked him to inquire about their cases.
The embassy had been assured by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the men were being treated well, he said, and had been given medical treatment as necessary. An indictment against the men had not been issued yet, he said.
Eleven Egyptians have been detained in the UAE in the past two months, all between the ages of 40 and 63 and mostly from Dubai and the Northern Emirates, Sawtmasr, an Egyptian online newspaper, reported. Those arrested included a journalist, teachers, a pharmacist, an engineer and a businessman, the website said.
Security services announced last week that they had arrested a terrorist cell accused of plotting attacks against the UAE and neighbouring countries. The investigation and arrests were carried out in co-ordination with security forces in Saudi Arabia, and those arrested were Emirati and Saudi members of an “organised cell from the deviant group that was planning to carry out actions against national security of both countries and some brotherly states”, the state news agency Wam said.
Last summer, authorities arrested a group of 60 local Islamists tied to Al Islah, the UAE branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, on charges of threatening state security.
The men were charged with violating Article 180 of the penal code, which bans the formation of any political organisation or any organisation that compromises the security of the state, and with having connections with foreign bodies to harm the political leadership.
Authorities said at the time that they had uncovered an organised effort to undermine the Government, with a military wing and an active fund-raising operation.