x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Son of accused jailed for misreporting UAE sedition trial on Twitter

The son of one of 94 accused of sedition is sentenced to 10 months in prison for misreporting the trial's events on Twitter.

ABU DHABI // The son of one of 94 Emiratis accused of sedition has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for misreporting the trial’s events on Twitter.

The Misdemeanour court convicted him of having “bad intentions” and publishing the information in a “non-secure” way.

The judicial department explained that his conduct could not be considered freedom of opinion, as described in the constitution of the UAE.

It said such freedom, as stated by the constitution, is not absolute, but is constrained by laws and regulations designed to preserve public security and the rights of individuals.

The department also said the man had dishonestly and in bad faith published articles about court proceedings and other circumstances surrounding the arrest of the 94. In doing so he had put social peace at risk and he had abused state institutions, in particular, the judicial system.

The son was also accused of fighting court police as they tried to maintain order in the courtroom during a break in the trial of the 94, which is ongoing.

However, prosecutors did not present enough evidence to convict him so the court cleared him of that charge. He was also cleared of not following court officials’ orders when they instructed him to leave the courtroom.

The judicial department explained that the benefit of the doubt is in favour of the accused, and therefore ruled not guilty in both charges.