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CAIRO: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said yesterday some of its members had been wrongfully arrested in United Arab Emirates (UAE) on allegations of helping to train
local Islamists in subversion tactics.
“I know 11 people were detained. I know that some of them are from the Brotherhood,” said Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Brotherhood spokesman in Cairo. “The claim that they are a cell seeking to destabilise the country is devoid of truth.”
The arrests came to light on Tuesday when a UAE newspaper reported the authorities had arrested an “Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cell”, citing an unnamed source.
The UAE, which has long voiced distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood that helped propel Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi to power this year, arrested about 60 Islamists last month, accusing them of being linked to the Egyptian group and plotting to undermine governments in the Gulf region.
In what appeared to be an effort to ease tensions, Egypt’s intelligence chief, General Mohamed Shehata, headed to the UAE for talks, airport officials said.
An aide to the Egyptian president also handed over a message from Mursi to UAE’s president, a statement from the Egyptian presidency said, without giving details.
“We are in contact with the authorities there and will see what what will happen in the next period,” Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr was quoted as saying by the state news agency.
The son of one of the arrested Egyptians said in Cairo that his father, Ali Sonbol, is a medical doctor and is not involved in political activities.
“They didn’t say where they were taking him and what were the charges,” Ahmed Sonbol said.
“The Egyptian embassy only assured us that he was detained by UAE authorities and he is well.”
UAE officials were not available for comment.
Relations between Egypt and the UAE soured after Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak — a longtime Gulf ally — was toppled in Egypt’s 2011 revolution.
Last month, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahayan summoned Egypt’s ambassador over claims carried by Egyptian media the UAE was behind a plot against Egypt’s leadership, saying they were “fabricated”. REUTERS