x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Man who insulted UAE on social media earns three-year jail term

The Federal Supreme Court found Mohammed Ashour, 38, guilty of creating a Facebook page that damaged the reputation of the country.

ABU DHABI // A Palestinian man will spend the next three years in prison after being found guilty of insulting the UAE on social media.

The Federal Supreme Court found Mohammed Ashour, 38, guilty of creating a Facebook page that damaged the reputation of the country. Ashour was also fined Dh50,000.

During his defence hearing last December, Ashour’s lawyer, Ali Majed, said his client did not deliberately seek to damage the country’s reputation and he had not spread information publicly that can be deemed damaging.

Ashour, who pleaded not guilty, told the judge the incident in question was a private interaction with another Facebook user.

He said it was escalated into something else by the prosecution. “What happened was a conversation between two users. I never created a website. It was a personal online page on a social media network,” he told Judge Mohammed Al Jarrah Al Tenaiji.

The judge also asked the Facebook page to be shut down.

Ashour was tried under the UAE’s Cybercrime Law No 5 of 2012 which criminalises all forms of electronic abuse.

People found guilty of committing a cybercrime could face up to life imprisonment and/or a fine varying between Dh50,000 and Dh3 million.

Ashour will be deported after serving his sentence.

nalremeithi@thenational.ae