Witnesses tell UAE court of secret group’s activities – Muslim Brotherhood ties
“Investigations have confirmed the defendants manage a clandestine organisation belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. The organisation’s structure is similar to that of the country and has a Shura Council (parliament) consisting of 30 members, who are members of the General Assembly of the organisation.” – testimony of investigation officer, UAE state security
Defendants had set up Shura Council and plotted to overthrow UAE government
By Abdulla Rasheed, Abu Dhabi Editor
Published: 18:59 March 18, 2013
Abu Dhabi: A clandestine group, whose alleged members are being tried by the State Security Court, met a number of times in the past two years to discuss plans “to overthrow the government,” prosecution witnesses told the court on Monday.
The court, part of the Federal Supreme Court, adjourned the hearing to today to listen to more witnesses presented by the prosecution.
The trial, which started on March 4, is presided over by Chief Justice Falah Al Hajiri.
Ninety-four Emiratis, including two suspects who are still at large, are being tried on charges of threatening national security, forming a clandestine group aimed at opposing the political system of the country and overthrowing the government.
The hearing on Monday was attended by six representatives from civil society organisations, as well as 15 media representatives, six defence lawyers and five from the Public Prosecution.
Three Public Prosecutor witnesses told the court details of the investigation into the group’s activities, which started in 2010.
They testified that the defendants have formed and ran a secret organisation under the name of’ Al Islah Society’.
The organisation’s structure is similar to that of a state, a key prosecution witness said.
“They actually established a state within a state,” he added. It comprises a Shura Council that oversaw different committees including one that attempted to spread the group’s ideology within some expatriate communities especially the Asian community such as Indians and Bangladeshis, the court was told.
Members of the group have conducted at least three planning meetings in the first half of 2011, the witness said.
In those meetings, he explained, they drew plans to spread their ideas and overthrow the government.
“As the organisation grew bigger, the committee incharge of managing the wealth of the group decided to invest the money in various lucrative sectors,” another witness, who is the prosecution’s financial expert, told the court.
He explained an investment plan set by the group to finance the organisation’s activities, saying it invested assets in 15 different companies involved in real estate projects, fund management, private schools, training centres, and trading in foodstuff.
He alleged that the organisation used to take 5 to 7 per cent of each member’s income to finance the group.
The organisation has launched a satellite channel, Hayatona TV (Our Life) based in Beirut aimed at “promoting values and interests of the group and enhance the image of the members,” he added.
Al Islah was formally created in 1974. However, its origins date back to the 1960s, when a number of Egyptian teachers, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, came to work in the UAE and began to recruit young Emiratis. Al Islah was later created as a cover for their activities, which were, in reality, directly linked to the founding organization in Egypt.
- Hearing of UAE secret-group case adjourned to March 26 (gulfnews.com)
- UAE Tries 94 for Alleged Coup Plot (voanews.com)
- UAE puts scores on trial for ‘coup plot’ (aljazeera.com)