UAE probes plot against state security, says has foreign links
DUBAI (Reuters) - Initial findings of a probe into a group plotting "crimes against state security" in the United Arab Emirates have confirmed links with suspicious foreign parties, the Attorney General said on Sunday.
About 35 activists have been detained since July 15, when the UAE said it had uncovered the plot. Many of those are affiliated with Islamist group Islah (Reform).
"Initial investigations and confessions of the suspects revealed plans which jeopardize the security of the state, as well as ties between the organization's members and suspicious foreign parties and organizations," state news agency WAM quoted Ali Salim al-Tenaiji as saying.
Islah has previously denied having such links and swears allegiance to the rulers of the UAE, a federation of seven emirates and a major oil exporter.
The UAE allows no organized political opposition. It has been spared the political tumult that has toppled four Arab heads of state since last year, thanks in part to its cradle-to-grave welfare system.
But it has also moved swiftly against signs of opposition, stripping several Islamists it accused of posing a threat to national security of their citizenship and issuing jail sentences to activists who called for more power for the country's semi-elected advisory council.
Members of Islah have called for greater civil rights and criticize the country's security apparatus, which they say is intrusive.
Analysts say UAE authorities, like other Gulf monarchies, are irked by the rise of Islamists in Egypt and other states in the wake of the Arab Spring, anxious that their gains elsewhere could embolden Islamists at home.
(Reporting by Isabel Coles; Editing by Pravin Char)
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