x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Picture taking does not merit prison terms

Letters to the editor

Visitors look at the bust of Queen Nefertiti on display at Berlin's New Museum. A reader argues that the ancient artefact should be returned to Egypt. Michael Gottschalk / AFP
Visitors look at the bust of Queen Nefertiti on display at Berlin's New Museum. A reader argues that the ancient artefact should be returned to Egypt. Michael Gottschalk / AFP

The news article Make the picture clearer, judge tells prosecutors (January 27) reported that the chief justice told prosecutors to clarify whether it was illegal to take photos at Yas Marina Circuit. This was the fourth such case, highlighting the confusion about where photography is not allowed in Abu Dhabi.

So let me make sure I understand this correctly. People can drive crazy, speed, do car stunts and tricks where other people's lives are placed in danger and they will only get fined. But when a person harmlessly takes a picture of certain landmarks, they go to prison? Does this seem rational?

This is not good at all and I do hope that government officials listen to this judge and change the laws by making them clearer for travelers to the UAE.

To be put in prison for taking pictures is just too extreme in my opinion. You cannot promote your country as a beautiful tourist destination, and then imprison tourists for taking pictures; especially when they are taking pictures near high profile landmarks.

I suggest two things the government can do.

First, post big signs in Arabic, English, Urdu and Tagalog that warn people not to take pictures at certain locations or else there will be "legal consequences" that follow.

Secondly, instead of imprisoning people for taking pictures, fine them. Do not imprison those who come over on holiday for taking pictures, whilst unaware that they were not supposed to do so.

The UAE is a beautiful place and my second home. Let's not tarnish the image of such a beautiful country with rules that do not make sense.

This situation is harmful to the UAE economy since it leads to bad word of mouth, keeping potential tourists and money away from the country.

Andre Rishi, Abu Dhabi

Force majeure is no excuse

The front page business article 'Act of God' cited for no refunds (January 26) reported that Dubai developers are increasingly using the force majeure clause to excuse delays and refuse refunds.

When things go wrong, there is limited recourse for the investor. Being able to even consider citing force majeure is indicative of the state of the UAE market.

This is a situation where no one cares about the investors who have their pensions invested into a development that should never have been granted a permit to build in the first place.

AW, Ras Al Khaimah

Your article about Dubai-based developers citing force majeure as a means to avoid compensating purchasers for delays in completing their projects is shocking.

Force majeure should only be used as a last resort in the face of uncontrollable physical events such as extreme weather and earthquakes where no party can reasonably be held responsible. To use it in this case is a total abdication of the developers' responsibility to their customers.

It is highly likely that the developers will be seeking compensation from the master-development companies for the delays, so what gives them the right to deny this to their customers?

The use of such tactics at the expense of the end user will do nothing to rebuild investor confidence and is irresponsible to the community in which the developer operates.

Jeremy Alston, Dubai

No bridge means danger for walkers

I reside in Tourist Club Area of Abu Dhabi, very near to Al Salam Tunnel under construction.

Since the beginning of the tunnel work, the construction company had put a pedestrian bridge to cross the construction site to reach the Corniche side. Last Saturday after three days' notification, they removed the bridge. Now people staying in the Tourist Club area are really struggling to reach offices as we have to take a long route with no alternate route provided for the public.

Doctors working at the Corniche Hospital also have to take the long route, even if there is an emergency and they are on call.

When buses or trucks pass us by in the narrow way, our lives are in danger.

Ciju Kurian, Abu Dhabi

Nefertiti belongs back in Egypt

The story Germany clings to Egyptian queen (January 27) reported that Germany has rejected the latest demand by Egypt to return a 3,350-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti, originally excavated by German archeologists in 1912.

A German art collector stated that returning Nefertiti to the country of origin would be "like tearing the heart out of Berlin's chest".

I wonder what taking it from the German excavation site in Amana was like for Egypt? This is what has come of justice. People need to negotiate with the thief and the thief is judge and jury. We need an international court of justice which applies to all.

Ravi Abay, Abu Dhabi