Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Muslim Brotherhood is reeling from defections, says man pardoned by Sheikh Khalifa

Former Muslim Brotherhood member Abdulrahman Al Suwaidi was pardoned by The President in 2018

Abdulrahman Al Suwaidi, who was convicted of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Wam
Abdulrahman Al Suwaidi, who was convicted of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Wam

A man convicted of Muslim Brotherhood membership and then pardoned by the President, Sheikh Khalifa, said the terror group is reeling from a wave of defections.

Emirati Abdulrahman Al Suwaidi told a TV interview on Friday that members are fleeing the extremist network because it is trying to destabilise Arab countries.

He also noted that UAE efforts to counter the brotherhood's toxic ideology had dealt a ''painful blow'' to the organisation.

Mr Al Suwaidi - a member of the Muslim Brotherhood for 30 years until his arrest in Indonesia in 2015 - also spoke out about how the group’s leaders concealed its true motives from the misguided rank and file.

"We lived under a delusion,” he said.

The interview was broadcast across major UAE channels at the weekend and then carried by state news agency Wam.

During the broadcast, he recalled how brotherhood leaders told him to foment unrest by coercing Yemenis to criticise the UAE on social media.

He also outlined how the group manipulates people by launching supposedly charitable projects such as building mosques and digging wells in areas that are disadvantaged.

The people affected most are ordinary citizens who supported the organisation by donating to causes with catchy slogans, such as “doing good”, he said.

The UAE designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in 2014. It came following the trial of 94 people in 2013 for alleged links to the group.

Authorities had been monitoring close to 300 people who were members of Al Islah - a education group with close links the Muslim Brotherhood. They were suspected of trying to turn people against the UAE.

This case became known as the UAE "sedition trial" and it gripped the country, being widely discussed in offices, homes and across social media.

The Federal Supreme Court convicted 69 people that July and handed down lengthy jail terms, while 25 were cleared. Al Islah's network in the country was also dismantled.

During the hearings, Judge Falah Al Hajeri gave the accused the chance to defend themselves and agreed to many of their requests, which included providing them with visitation rights, case files, and they were allowed to be transferred to a group prison instead of solitary confinement. The judge also allowed family members to meet the accused.

Mr Al Suwaidi, meanwhile,was jailed after his arrest in Indonesia but then was granted a pardon a few years into his sentence which he said freed him from the dark influences of the brotherhood.

"When the organisation disowned me, I found my true country and its institutions received me and treated me in a civil way, which included providing legal, health and humanitarian support and rights,” he said.

“This eliminated the delusions created by the organisation about ‘our judicial and punitive establishments’.”

Mr Al Suwaidi said he was determined to continue to expose the truth about the group through writings and media appearances.

Updated: June 22, 2019 12:49 PM

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