Emirati authorities have refused to release the 11 Egyptians detained in the United Arab Emirates, who are accused of leading a Muslim Brotherhood cell.
The 11 have been detained for over a month and charges were only brought last Tuesday, when Emirati newspaper Al-Khaleej announced they were Muslim Brotherhood leaders posing as a threat to the UAE’s national security.
The president’s foreign media advisor, Essam Al-Haddad, led a delegation to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday for a two-day trip. He met with Emirati officials but Al-Hadadd’s visit proved to be fruitless as the Emirati authorities’ insisted the matter will be subject to legal proceedings and no one would be released on political grounds, reported Al-Khaleej.
Emirati officials expressed their “wonder” at the Egyptian delegation’s interest only in the 11 detained for alleged involvement with a Brotherhood cell, whereas 350 other Egyptians are currently detained in the UAE for different charges, reported Al Emirate Al-Youm. The officials stated that no mention of other Egyptian detainees was made during the delegation’s visit.
Ragha Allam, Foreign Policy researcher at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS), stated that Egyptian-Emirati relations have been tense since the start of the January 2011 revolution. She added that the latest arrests further complicate the crisis.
“Yet, the real problem isn’t in the arrests themselves,” Allam said, “the problem is with the amount of attention the Egyptian state authorities are giving to those specific detainees.” Allam stated that many Egyptian expatriates are arrested throughout the world, but the presidency seldom sends convoys overseas to follow through with their cases.
“I wish the authorities could deal with all expatriates detained in an equal manner,” Allam said, “just as I wish Non-Governmental Organisations would exercise similar equality when dealing with different detentions.”
The 11 arrested were accused of recruiting Egyptians to perform activities which threaten Emirati security. Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan confirmed that the 11 detainees all belong to the Brotherhood. He nevertheless denied that they were involved in any acts that could threaten the UAE’s national security or that they were attempting to export the Egyptian revolution to the gulf state.