UAE to Try 94 Detainees for “Plot”
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) charged on Sunday 94 nationals for conspiring to overthrow the government. The UAE’s attorney general, Salem Saeed Kubaish, said, “Their unannounced aims were to seize power…they had plotted for that discreetly at secret meetings.” He also stated that the accused had infiltrated “all sectors of the state and its organisations” and used media and social networking to “turn public opinion against the government.” Some activists suspected that the timing of the charges was intended to help the UAE avoid criticism from the U.N. The body’s human rights council was set to meet on Monday, and some of the detainees had been held without charge for close to a year.
The suspects were specifically accused of “violating Article 180 of the Penal Code, which bans the formation of any political organisation or any organisation that compromises the security of the state, and with having connections with foreign bodies to harm the political leadership.” Many of the detainees are members of al-Islah, an Islamist group that has been linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a relationship it denies. A security source and private newspaper have reported that some of the detainees admitted to the charges and even to setting up an armed wing of their organization, although al-Islah denies the charges and claims to only be seeking peaceful democratic reform.
Blogging for the Council on Foreign Relations, Elliott Abrams finds that the UAE views the Brotherhood “as a sinister organization acting secretly to build an invisible human and financial network, not as a group of devout individuals just trying to improve society.” The UAE is surprised that the U.S. would believe otherwise, and is determined to show that the Brotherhood’s “activities are about seizing power rather than building respect for human rights or promoting democracy.”