An Abu Dhabi court has sentenced an Emirati to 10 years in jail along with a fine of Dhs1m ($272,265) after he was convicted of “insulting the UAE and its leaders”, local daily The National reported on Wednesday.
Ahmed Mansoor was charged with insulting the ‘status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols’ and also of seeking to damage the UAE’s relationship with its neighbours by publishing false reports and information on social media, the report said.
The court cleared him of terrorist-related charges.
Mansoor, an electrical engineer, was arrested in March 2017 after he was accused of “inciting hatred and defaming the country online”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.
The judge at the State Security Court ordered that he should be kept under surveillance for three years following his release, The National said.
Mansoor was among the five Emiratis convicted in 2011 of insulting the UAE and its leaders. While he was sentenced to three years in prison at the time, he later received a presidential pardon.
The UAE has very strict laws about “insulting the country and its leaders” either verbally or on cyberspace.
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In 2016, an American woman was detained for insulting the country in public – at the Abu Dhabi airport. She was later acquitted after she was shown to be “mentally ill.”
The same year a GCC national was sentenced to three years in jail and fined Dhs50,000 ($13,613) by the Federal Supreme Court after he was found guilty of insulting the country on messaging service WhatsApp.
In 2013, an American citizen was also sentenced to a year in jail and fined Dhs10,000 ($2,723) for posting a parody video about the UAE on YouTube.