The United Arab Emirates' top prosecutor referred 41 people to trial on charges of planning to carry out terrorist acts with the aim of overthrowing the government and establishing an extremist state, according to a statement released Sunday.
Prosecutor General Salem Saeed Kubaish said in a statement the cell called itself "Shabab Al-Manarah" or "Minaret Youths." Kubaish said the group planned to carry out terrorist acts against the country's leadership and public with the aim of creating an Islamic state, or caliphate.
The UAE, which is home to the cosmopolitan cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has clamped down on even nonviolent Islamist groups in recent years, sentencing dozens of opposition figures to prison. It is also part of the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq.
The statement, carried by the state-run WAM news agency, did not list the nationalities of those accused, only saying that some are Emirati. The group will also be charged with raising funds to illegally acquire firearms and explosives and raising money for "foreign terrorist groups" in exchange for their assistance. The statement did not elaborate.
Kubaish said the group formed committees to recruit young Emiratis and planned to train them on how to shoot firearms, how to carry out attacks using explosives and how to record audio and video messages to promote their ideas online.
Their trial before the Supreme Court starts Aug. 24, according to Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper.
Last month, the UAE executed a female citizen with links to Islamic extremists who was convicted of stabbing to death an American mother of three at a mall in Abu Dhabi.