x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Brotherhood members channelled millions to Egypt, trial hears

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood also spread the contents of a confidential memory drive which contained Government details about the group.

Abu Dhabi // Members of a Muslim Brotherhood cell channelled US$2 million (Dh7.3m) back to the parent group in Egypt, prosecutors alleged on Tuesday.

Egyptian members of the group also copied and spread the confidential contents of a memory drive, a court was told.

The court heard last week that the drive was given to an Egyptian, M A, by mistake by a First Warrant Officer in the Supreme Council for National Security,

The drive contained details of people connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and information and PowerPoint presentations about the group, the prosecution said on Tuesday.

All the contents were strictly confidential and intended for use by National Security officers only, the court was told as the prosecution began the oral presentation of its case.

Thirty men are on trial at the Federal Supreme Court accused of establishing and running a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Twenty of the accused are Egyptian, and six are being tried in their absence. The remaining 10 are Emiratis, who were also convicted of sedition in July.

Police seized electronic devices such as laptops from the homes and workplaces of the accused.

They found files and documents such as future plans of the Brotherhood, information on the committees run by the group and their activities, educational curriculums, campaigns, website histories and Twitter searches.

“Some of the files found were prepared by the Brotherhood members in Egypt, while others were prepared by those in the UAE,” said the prosecutor.

“And their confessions were clear. They all confessed to being members of the Muslim Brotherhood and admitted to taking orders from the main centre in Egypt.”

The accused formed a board, several administrations and committees, the prosecution said.

They started the group in the UAE, collected membership subscriptions and donations to provide financial support to the main centre in Egypt and maintained relations between the group in both countries. During interrogation, all the accused confessed, the court was told.

“They said they initiated the group in the UAE and had a continuous relationship with the leaders in Egypt, who must approve all new members.

“The reason the Egyptian members initiated an illegal branch of the Brotherhood is to protect its members and those concerned about the group, until they go back to the safety of their own country,” said the prosecutor.

“Its aim was to raise financial resources for the main centre in Egypt.”

One of the Egyptians accused, A L, had given the members of the Egyptian Brotherhood lectures and workshops on how to destroy leads to the Muslim Brotherhood and how to resist interrogation, the prosecutor said.

A L also advised the members not to mingle with other people, fearing they would speak about the secret branch.

The accused also confessed to sending money to the main centre in Egypt in support of the Brotherhood. After Hosni Mubarak was deposed as president of Egypt in January 2011 the cell members planned to send $6m to Egypt, but in the end sent only $2 million, said the prosecutor.

“The foreign defendants came to this country and lived on its welfare. They did not observe and respect the traditions of the host country,” he said.

“The Emiratis’ thoughts were poisoned and they stabbed into the country’s security. Our security does not tolerate this and we demand the maximum penalty.”

Abdulhameed Al Kumaiti, a defence lawyer for all the accused, asked that the technician who inspected the electronic files be called to give evidence.

He asked for the logs of all phone calls relating to the secret meetings of the Brotherhood’s group said to have taken place, starting from 2010.

Mr Al Kumaiti also asked for reports on the activities of two accused, S F and H N, in April, May and June of 2012. The lawyer said the men were imprisoned when prosecution reports said they had attended secret meetings.

Judge Mohammed Al Jarrah Al Tunaiji said he would look into all those matters.

The accused complained that they had still not been given the case files they had requested, and the judge ordered the public prosecution to provide them immediately.

He also asked the accused to prepare themselves for their defence presentations at future hearings, and gave their lawyers time to prepare the submissions.

The next hearing will take place on December 10.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae