UAE refuses to free detained Egyptians

Updated 06 January 2013
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UAE refuses to free detained Egyptians

DUBAI: The UAE has rejected a request by Egypt to free 11 of its citizens held on suspicion of training hard-liners in how to overthrow governments, local newspapers reported yesterday.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood last week said some of the detainees were its members and demanded they be freed, saying they had been wrongfully arrested.
The UAE has long voiced distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood that helped propel Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi to power last year after the overthrow of veteran ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt sent a presidential aide and its intelligence chief, Gen. Mohamed Shehata, to the UAE for talks following the arrests.
“They (UAE officials) explained that a suspect cannot be released before the case goes to court,” a Dubai-based daily reported, adding the Egyptian delegation was told the UAE had a ‘strong court system and justice will take its course’.
The Arabic-language Al-Khaleej said the 11 suspects were under investigation by state security prosecutors over “serious charges.”
The UAE arrested about 60 radicals last year, accusing them of plotting to undermine governments in the Gulf region.
Al-Khaleej, citing an unnamed source, last week said there were close ties between Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and leaders of the UAE radicals in detention. It said the detained Egyptians had given “a number of courses and lectures ... on elections and ways to change systems of government in Arab countries.”
Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Brotherhood spokesman in Cairo, rejected the charge that the 11 were seeking to destabilize the UAE.
The son of one of those arrested said his father, Ali Sonbol, was a doctor and not involved in political activities.
Relations between Egypt and the UAE soured after Mubarak — a longtime Gulf ally — was toppled in 2011.
Last month, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan summoned Egypt’s ambassador over claims carried by Egyptian media that the UAE was behind a plot against Egypt’s leadership, saying they were “fabricated.”
The Brotherhood has sought to reassure Gulf states that it has no plan to push for political change beyond Egypt’s borders.


Campaign fever turns into clash between Druze parties

Updated 24 April 2018
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Campaign fever turns into clash between Druze parties

  • Lebanon's independent Sabaa party talks about exploitation of positions and money.
  • Several young men from the Sabaa party demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Ministry of Interior.
BEIRUT: Sectarian and partisan polarization resulting from fierce competition for parliamentary seats in Lebanon has led to the first armed clash between two rival Druze parties.
Machine guns were used in the clash between the Progressive Socialist Party, led by MP Walid Jumblatt, and the Lebanese Democratic Party, led by Talal Arslan, which took place on Sunday evening in the city of Choueifat, about 5 km south of Beirut.
The two parties’ leaders acted quickly to calm their supporters.
“When politicians plant seeds of hatred and grudges among people, they commit a crime against citizens who have been breaking bread together for centuries,” Jumblatt said in a tweet.
In a joint statement, the two parties stressed “the need to avoid any steps that could provoke anger among supporters or disturb citizens who look forward to freely exercising their right to vote in an atmosphere of democratic competition.”
The two parties, alongside other parties with supporters in Choueifat, such as Hezbollah, the Lebanese Forces, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and the Amal Movement, have agreed on “disowning anyone who breaches security, requesting that the security forces intensify their presence in Choueifat, identifying fixed locations until the elections are over, and restraining from carrying out provocative processions.”
Campaigning lasts 24 hours before polling and has seen various kinds of violations of the electoral law.
Several young men from the Sabaa party — a group of independent activists — demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Ministry of Interior, carrying banners questioning the ministry’s role in election-related issues.
“Serious violations are taking place because the country is out of control; many are exploiting their positions and pouring (in) their money, and conflicts are happening at grassroots level — people are tearing down photos of candidates and individuals are fighting with one another,” said Gilbert Hobeish on behalf of the demonstrators.
He added: “This is unacceptable, and the minister of interior must take responsibility.”
Hobeish criticized the Electoral Supervisory Commission, saying “it only oversees the civil society or change candidates.”
“We reject this in toto,” he said.
Ali Al-Amin, a candidate on the Shbaana Haki electoral list (who was assaulted last Sunday by Hezbollah supporters in the town of Shaqra because he hung his photo outside his house), held a press conference in the town of Nabatiyah Al-Fawqa and renewed his protest against “the tyranny that silences voices, oppresses liberties and acts on its own will and temperaments, making us feel as if we were in the law of the jungle era.”
He said that “resistance isn’t anyone’s property nor is it one party’s ownership.”
He also called on “the free people of the south to decide which life they wanted and to which homeland and identity they belonged.”
Campaign fever is rising in Lebanon 48 hours before the elections are held for the first time for Lebanese communities in several Arab countries. These elections are to be held 11 days before parliamentary elections take place inside Lebanon.