U.A.E. Sends 94 to Court for Planning Overthrow of State

The United Arab Emirates sent 94 citizens to the supreme federal court, charging them with an attempt to seize power in the Persian Gulf state, the official WAM service said, citing General Prosecutor Salim Saed Kbesh.

The investigations showed that the defendants established a secret organization opposed to the basic principles of the state, WAM reported, citing the general prosecutor. They also tried to establish contacts with foreigners, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the news service said.

The U.A.E. has cracked down on Islamic groups, which the government says have been emboldened by the so-called Arab Spring in the region after the toppling of leaders in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. After the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood moved from being the main opposition group to a driving force in Egypt’s politics, particularly after Mohamed Mursi was elected president in June 2012.

In coordination with Saudi Arabian officials, the U.A.E. arrested last month members of a terror cell that it said was planning to carry out attacks in the two oil-exporting nations and the broader region. U.A.E. authorities said in September they arrested more than 50 Islamists who were conspiring against the state.

‘Undeclared Aims’

The “undeclared aims were, in fact, to seek to seize power and the state’s system of governance and to oppose the basic principles of this system,” Kbesh was cited as saying by WAM. The members allegedly communicated with individuals and international and foreign entities outside the U.A.E. “to distort the image of the state,” WAM reported.

The group tried to increase “their financial resources” by investing donations into commercial and real estate companies, WAM said. They also bought and sold residential, industrial and agricultural properties, the news service said.

Most of those detained in the U.A.E. belong to a domestic Islamic group known as al-Islah. Al-Qaeda has no known affiliations with local Islamist groups in the Gulf that are politically active.

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