UAE woman fined Dhs 500,000 for Whatsapp comments

The case is believed to be the first carried out under new hate crime laws



An Emirati woman has been fined Dhs 500,000 under new hate crime laws for cursing her uncle and a historic Muslim scholar on messaging service Whatsapp.

The woman, aged 53, used hateful language in an exchange with the 60-year old man during a Whatsapp conversation Judge Fahad Al Shamsi determined, according to local publication 7days.

In the messages, she allegedly called her uncle “tyrannous, wicked and a forger” and insulted scholar Yazid bin Muawiya, a historic figure who lived 1,400 years ago and was the second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate.

Both parties were reported as being from different sects.

The sentence is believed to be the first handed down since the new hate crime laws were issued. Those in breach of the laws can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and be issued a fine of up to Dhs 1m.

The text exchange began in November 2015 and lasted until January 10 2016 when the uncle went to the police. “She cursed me and Yazid in a message,” he said.

The woman admitted the charges, according to the publication. She claimed in an earlier hearing that she had financially supported her uncle for 29 years but he abandoned her after she developed cancer.

“He didn’t see or look after me”, she said. “And now he is fighting me over a will. He deserved what I said to him. A person who sends his niece to court is not a man.”