UAE Widens Crackdown, Interrogates Women on Islamist Ties
United Arab Emirates police are questioning a group of women over their alleged membership in a women’s branch of an organization accused of attempting to overthrow the government. The interrogations come just days after UAE authorities arrested 10 members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood for holding “secret meetings” and recruiting members to collect sensitive defense information on the country, and only two weeks after reporting the dismantling of a terrorist cell including citizens of Saudi Arabia in the country.
The number of women being investigated is unclear, but human rights activists have denounced the government’s investigation, calling on the authorities “to end the mockery investigations with the women and announce the accusations and the clear evidences”. Amid the recent wave of arrests in the country concerning the threat of destabilizing the government, the the Arab Network for Human Rights Information charged that “the persistence in the furious campaign against the activists and reforms in UAE without clear and specific charges or the place of detention, require a prompt and decisive intervention from the international and regional organizations to press the authorities to commit to pledges and obligations that UAE signed in respect of human rights.”
In response, the State Attorney General, Salim Saeed Kubaish, asserted that “all rights of the above-mentioned 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.” Kubaish has not indicated whether the women will face imprisonment for their affiliation with the Islamic group, which he accused of “creating and managing a network aimed at seizing power in the country,” AFP reported.