United Arab Emirates Charges 94 in Power Grab

Religious group rejected country's 'basic principles': attorney general
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 28, 2013 10:24 AM CST
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai, centre, watches the Dubai Gold Cup race, Saturday, March 31, 2012, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.   (AP Photo/Stephen Hindley)

(Newser) – The United Arab Emirates is poised to try 94 people for allegedly attempting to take control of the country, CNN reports. "They launched, established, and ran an organization seeking to oppose the basic principles of the UAE system of governance and to seize power," says the UAE's attorney general. The accused are part of a group that aims to spread the "virtues of Islam," the official adds. Some are said to belong to a group called al-Islah, meaning "reform." Those headed for trial were arrested in September but hadn't been charged until now.

Officials say the defendants tried to spread an anti-government message through social media. But "we are not political opposition," says the son of a detained man. "We are proud of Islah. They want us to admit (to crimes) to turn public opinion against us." There are secularists in the group, he notes. "We do not deny we have been influenced by some of the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood," among other groups. "But we are not a branch" of the Brotherhood, which is banned in the country. "We have taken on the best of each ideology and left out what may not be beneficial to our country." (Read more United Arab Emirates stories.)

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