Omani jailed for insulting UAE on Whatsapp

Omani jailed for insulting UAE on Whatsapp
The UAE has jailed an Omani for three years under a controversial cybercrimes law for insulting the state on messaging service Whatsapp.
1 min read
29 February, 2016
The jailed Omani was accused of harming the interest of the UAE on Whatsapp [Getty]
The supreme court in the United Arab Emirates on Monday jailed an Omani man for three years for "mocking" the Gulf state on WhatsApp messenger, local media reported.

Saleh Mohammed Saleh al-Owaissi, 29, was convicted of "distributing information aimed at mocking and harming the reputation of the state," Al-Ittihad newspaper reported on its website.

He had distributed an audio recording "in which he accused the state and its martyrs in Yemen of cowardness and treachery," the report said, citing the verdict.

Owaissi was also fined 50,000 dirhams ($13,625).

It was unclear with whom he shared the message on the popular mobile telephone application, or how many people it reached.

He was tried under the UAE's 2012 cybercrime law, which criminalises all forms of "electronic abuse".

This is not the first case of its kind. The UAE has been resorting to the controversial law to tighten its grip on online content.

Last month Emirati police were ordered to arrest two men after a video of them dancing "suggestively" while wearing UAE military uniforms was shared widely on social media.

A Palestinian man was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 50,000 Dirhams ($13,600) after allegedly "insulting the UAE" on social media.

Agencies contributed to this report