x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE questions women over links to Muslim Brotherhood

The UAE Attorney General says the probe is being carried out by the Office of the Public Prosecution into the members of the secret organisation accused of trying to orchestrate a power shift.

ABU DHABI // Authorities investigating a secret militant organisation accused of trying to destabilise the UAE are questioning a group of women suspected of being the group’s female branch.

The organisation is accused of plotting to seize power, opposing the basic principles of the UAE system of governance and aiming to damage social harmony and peace.

The investigation is being carried out by the Office of Public Prosecution, the Attorney General, Salim Saeed Kubaish, told the state news agency Wam yesterday.

At least 10 Egyptian expatriates were arrested last month on suspicion of forming a militant group with links to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The women’s branch of the group is an essential part of its structure, Mr Kubaish said.

He did not specify the number of women being questioned, and did not say if they could face detention.

The women are being questioned with full respect for the right to privacy, the norms and the traditions of society and the rules and principles of Sharia, he said.

“All rights of the women are guaranteed during the investigation stage, without prejudice to justice and equality of all before the law. The law does not differentiate between people on the basis of gender,” Mr Kubaish said.

“Men and women are equal before the law whenever the judiciary has determined that they have committed a crime punishable by law.”

Meanwhile Dubai’s police chief accused the militant cell of having links to Al Qaeda and of planning bomb attacks in the UAE.

Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim told the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al Awsat that the group was affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the branch of the terrorist organisation based in Yemen.

amustafa@thenational.ae

* Additional reporting by Reuters and Agence France-Presse