The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday it would try a Kuwaiti Islamist ex-MP in absentia for allegedly “inciting sedition” in remarks he made about Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince.
Mubarak al-Duwailah has been referred to the Federal Supreme Court, the UAE’s top court, for “allegedly abusing religion to incite sedition, harm national unity, [and] disturb social peace,” WAM news agency reported Attorney General Salim Saeed Kubaish as saying.
The former lawmaker was also charged with “intentionally” spreading “false news ... rumors ... provocative and malicious propaganda,” Kubaish said.
Duwailah is a leading figure in the Islamic Constitutional Movement, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait.
The UAE on Nov. 15 published a list of 83 “terrorist” groups, topped by the Muslim Brotherhood. The list was criticized by many Sunni Islamists for not including Lebanon’s powerful Shiite Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group.
In a December television interview on the Kuwaiti parliament’s Al-Majlis television channel, Duwailah “falsely alleged” that the UAE was against Sunni Islam, said the statement on WAM.
Asked his opinion of the UAE’s anti-Brotherhood stance, Duwailah had said: “I don’t think it’s the UAE ... it’s a one-man show.
“It’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed [al-Nahayan] who personally has this position [toward the Brotherhood] and has managed to impose it on the state.”
“We don’t know why Mohammed bin Zayed is against Sunni Islam,” he said, criticizing the lengthy jail terms given to 69 activists in 2013 after they were convicted of links to the Al-Islah Society, viewed as the UAE branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Duwailah was questioned by Kuwait’s public prosecution in January on accusations that he insulted the leaders of a friendly country and that he endangered diplomatic relations with the UAE.
He denied the accusations and was released on 5,000-dinar ($16,800) bail. No charges have so far been pressed against Duwailah in Kuwait, where he lives.
The UAE has not seen any of the pro-reform protests that have swept other Arab countries since 2011, including fellow Gulf states Bahrain and Oman.
But authorities have stepped up a crackdown on dissent and calls for democratic reform. Most of those targeted have been Islamists.
Both the UAE and Kuwait are in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council which also includes Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.