US media is reporting that the 65 suspects charged by the UAE authorities for allegedly setting up an illegal branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood have received sentences of up to 15 years. According to an AP report:
Jul 02, 2013 Associated Press ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – More than 65 suspects accused of plotting an Islamist coup in the United Arab Emirates received prison sentences of up to 15 years on Tuesday in a mass trial that underscored the widening crackdowns on perceived Arab Spring-inspired dissent across the entire Gulf Arab region.
Rights groups have accused the UAE of widespread violations including jailhouse abuses against the 94 suspects on trial. The suspects included teachers, lawyers and even the cousin of one of the UAE’s rulers.
Authorities have rejected the claims and have moved ahead with further arrests sweeps targeting suspected groups linked to Islamist networks such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The UAE – which allows no political parties – has not faced any street protests or direct pressures since the Arab Spring uprisings began in the region more than two years ago.
But Western-backed officials have turned their attention to suspected Islamist cells and online activists who have called for a greater public voice in the tightly controlled country.
Prominent rights activist Ahmed Mansoor – who was jailed in some of the first UAE crackdowns after the Arab Spring – said prison terms of 15 years were given to eight suspects tried in absentia.
Ten-year sentences were handed to 60 others, including Sheikh Sultan bin Kayed al-Qasimi, who was head of a group known as al-Islah, or Reform. He is a cousin of the ruler in Ras al-Khaimah, the northernmost of the UAE’s seven emirates.
At least 26 of the suspects were acquitted, Mansoor said.
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A post from last month reported that 30 Egyptians and Emiratis had been charged by the UAE authorities for allegedly setting up an illegal branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. In January of this year, the UAE announced that it would try 94 people on charges of trying to seize power in that country. The New York Times reported in mid-January on the continuing conflict between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
In April, the Gulf News posted an article titled “Rise and fall of Muslim Brotherhood in UAE” that provides interesting detail about the operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in that country. The article begins:
April 13, 2013 Abu Dhabi: While the Muslim Brotherhood enjoyed a lot of freedom and influence in the early 1960s and 1970s, its popularity was dealt a sharp blow in the 1990s after the government became highly suspicious of its alternative motives. The Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘conspiracy against the UAE’ goes back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, an Emirati analyst said. During those years, ‘the global movement of the Brotherhood decided to invade the UAE and other Gulf states, through recruiting students who studied abroad. Those students operated secretly through front organisations like mafia-style gangs, money-laundering and espionage rings,’ Dr Ali Salem Humaid, chairman of the Al Mezmaah Centre for Studies and Research, a Dubai-based think-tank, told Gulf News. Dr Humaid added that the Brotherhood’s cell in the UAE influenced the country’s education and judiciary until its political society Jammiyat Al Islah, was dissolved in 1994. Mansour Al Nuqaidan, a Saudi writer, quoted Mohammad Bin Ali Al Mansouri, a former member of the Islah Society’s board, as saying that the Islah had been dissolved after a complaint from Egypt that it provided financial support to Al Jihad militant group, which was affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and was involved in terrorist acts. Recruitment Related Links Prominent Muslim Brotherhood idealogues The many faces of the Muslim Brotherhood Most members of the movement are recruited during high school or college years and, in many cases, serve in top administrative positions within the Brotherhood’s nationwide structure before being promoted to the Guidance Office, the organisation’s top executive authority.
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Our predecessor publication extensively covered the ongoing developments concerning the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf countries.