UAE rejects Egypt call to free ‘Brotherhood’ detainees

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UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum. Photo from the Sheikh’s official Twitter account.

DUBAI—The United Arab Emirates has rejected a request from Egypt for the release of 11 of its nationals detained for suspected links to Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood, the Gulf News paper reported on Saturday.

The case has sparked a sharp deterioration of relations between Abu Dhabi and Cairo, which had already been strained since the election of Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi as Egyptian president last June.

But at a meeting in Dubai on Wednesday, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum told top Morsi adviser Essam el-Haddad and intelligence chief Mohammed Shahata that releasing the 11 without trial “is not possible,” Gulf News reported.

“We have a strong court system and justice will take its course,” the paper said the Egyptian delegation was told.

In the Saudi capital Riyadh, visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr said on Saturday in reference to the case that Cairo does not interfere in the affairs of others.

“Egypt does not interfere in any way in the domestic affairs of other nations,” he said at a news conference after being asked about the case.

“What is happening in Egypt is an internal affair that concerns only the Egyptian people. We have no interest in exporting what is taking place in Egypt to another country.”

The 11 Egyptians arrested last month stand accused of leading an expatriate Brotherhood cell in the UAE that collected sensitive information and had links to Emirati nationals in custody on suspicion of plotting against national security.

But Brotherhood spokesman Mahmud Ghozlan told AFP in Cairo that the arrests were part of an “unjust campaign” against his compatriots, most of whom are doctors or engineers.

Any suggestion of regime change is extremely sensitive in the UAE and other Gulf states, which have been largely spared the upheaval of the Arab Spring that from early 2011 swept aside autocratic governments in the Middle East and North Africa.

During the past year, the United Arab Emirates announced it had broken up several cells it said were plotting against its security.

It continues to ban all political parties.

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  • wawa2172

    Egypt Islamic Brotherhood should not interfere with the peaceful existence of its neighboring country. While Egypt has removed Mubarak from his seat it remains to be seen if the nation would revert as a democratic state where freedom of speech and belief is essential. Adopting an Islamic constitution would now have a big effect on Egypt’s existence. It may be difficult for its people to now gather and speak against their government and the principle that most Islamist believes that if you are not a believer of islam then you are an enemy. The Taliban and extreme Islamist are such closed with regards to belief of others. I guess the best model of were Islam thrives peacefully with Christians, Buddhist and others are the Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Singapore is so successful because not a sole religion is centered on its constitution and it respect its citizens belief, Nonetheless extremism is illegal in such a country. We can spread our religious belief but it must not interfere with nations internal affairs. 

  • opinyonlangpo

    Slowly Egypt will isolate itself due to its fundamentalist style of government. It will be too late when the Egyptians realize this.

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