UAE arrests man for insulting FNC elections

The public prosecution clarified that the arrest is not in conflict with the freedom of speech in the UAE

This image is illustrative only

Abu Dhabi’s public prosecution has arrested a man for mocking and insulting the elections of the Federal National Council, state news agency WAM said.

The accused-who is not a member of FNC- allegedly “offended and mocked” candidates through a video. On it, he also said that he would promote criminal acts if elected to join the FNC. The video was circulated during the elections.

WAM did not say what motivated him to post the video.

Meanwhile, the prosecution clarified that the arrest is not in conflict with the freedom of speech within the country. The statement explained that the country protects freedom of opinion as long as it does not breach limitations of morality and religion.

The public prosecution further warned that the United Arab Emirates could punish anyone who offends and insults others.

Cyber laws and especially social media laws are stringent in the UAE. For example, it is unlawful to tag pictures of others on social networking site Facebook without their permission or publicly insult the country or another person via microblogging site Twitter.

Private messaging service WhatsApp is also governed by regulations in the UAE. Recently Dubai Police revealed that residents should be careful and avoid joking about belonging to extremist organisations as they could be punished.

Furthermore authorities have also banned swearing or sending the emoji of the middle finger through WhatsApp.

Abu Dhabi attorney general Ali Mohammed Al Baloushi urged the public to use social media with caution.

He warned the residents against “publishing, preparing, producing, using, broadcasting or transmitting any written or spoken statements, gestures, symbols, drawings, photographs, recordings or writings, in audio, visual or print format, of anything that harms society or public order of the country”.