DUBAI, July 15, (Agencies): Kuwait has handed over to Egyptian authorities eight members of a militant cell arrested on its territory and who it said were linked to the Muslim Brotherhood group, state news agency KUNA reported.
Kuwait’s interior ministry said on Friday the Egyptians belonged to a “terrorist” cell linked to the Brotherhood. They had fled to Kuwait after being sentenced by Egyptian authorities to jail terms of up to 15 years, it said. Kuwait has not specified the circumstances of their sentencing, and there has been no official comment on the case from Egyptian judicial authorities either.
The men were returned under the terms of bilateral agreements, KUNA quoted a senior foreign ministry official as saying late on Sunday. The interior ministry said investigations were ongoing to discover other cell members.
Egypt banned the group in 2013 after late Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected head of state in Egypt’s modern history, was toppled by the military following widespread unrest. Since then, Egyptian authorities have arrested tens of thousands of political opponents, many of them Islamists, according to human rights organisations.
The Brotherhood says it publicly renounced violence decades ago and pursues an Islamist political vision using peaceful means. Kuwait Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah Sunday regretted there were persons residing in Kuwait and wanted by Egypt’s judiciary authority, confirming they were extradited to Cairo.
Al-Jarallah was referring to security authorities’ clamping down on a terrorist cell of the Muslim Brotherhood Organization’s Egyptian members who had been convicted of terrorism. Asked by reporters on sidelines of a reception by France Embassy on country’s national day about branding the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, Al-Jarallah said Kuwait did not declare the Brotherhood was a terrorist organization. “This position has already been made public,” he said.
Kuwait extradited those arrested to Egypt in line with an extradition agreement, he said. Al-Jarallah said security coordination with Egypt “is very high. We are satisfied with this cooperation … because we realize the security of Egypt and Kuwait were linked.” Kuwait Ministry of Interior said members of the cells had been handed down verdicts by the Egyptian judiciary, indicating some of the detainees had been sentenced to 15 years behind bars in their home country.
The MoI personnel located whereabouts of the fugitives, who had escaped from the Egyptian authorities to Kuwait, and arrested them. During interrogations, they admitted to carrying out terrorist operations in Egypt. Sources pointed the ‘Brotherhood cell’ was detected in Kuwait following investigations conducted by the Egyptian and Libyan authorities with the terrorist Hisham Ashmawi, who was handed over to Egypt recently.
The security sources pointed out the Egyptian security delegation which arrived in Kuwait also has a list of the sleeper cells inside Kuwait associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, stressing that the State Security police will conduct an investigation and review the extent of involvement of the names in the file.
The sources stressed if anyone proves involvement in any terrorist operations inside Egypt or participation and support for the Muslim Brotherhood organization will be arrested and referred for investigation and then deported to Egypt.